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22 July 2013

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Julie

There are some good suggestions in there (I agree about Calling on Dragons for fans of Howl's Moving Castle, etc.) but often it seems like they just come up with really obvious answers. The one I see the most is Goodreads and their sample recommendation lists are like "so and so read 3 books with a steampunk theme.... our recommendation is.... another steampunk book!" Thank you, GoodReads, I could probably have gotten there on my own. A lot of these seem to be the same way. "How about... another book by the same author!"

Leila

@Julie: Yes, exactly! I suspect that those of us who'd be likely to FIND and USE said websites already have a pretty good handle on how/where to find readalikes. Like I said, they're still fun to use, but none of them are MAGICALLY AWESOME.

I didn't touch on Novelist, though, because I wanted this list to be all free sources, but now I'm wondering how its automated recomendations would have lined up...

LizB

I cannot stand when the results include other books by the same author. I think that anyone looking for readers advisory has done some basics first, such as, oh -- looking for other books by the same author. Is there a handful of times when it MAY be helpful, for someone like Nora Roberts, when you want to stay away from the paranormal, say? Perhaps, but that is outside the typical situation.

tanita

I can NEVER use these sites because they make me want to throw things. They're either super obvious, or so, SO random. Shirley Jackson, indeed!!
I find that I attempt to use them more often for adult reads; I have a lot of word-of-mouth to go on for YA stuff - plus the ever looming potential Cybils list.

If you someday find one that works, shout it to the skies, willya?
And, thanks for all the work on this one.

Annie

Hi - that's a good list of course, but the point about Whichbook is that you can start with the reading experience you want from your next read, not a title or an author, which means you are likely to get something you've never heard of, but that offers the thrills you want. To give Whichbook a fair go, try analysing what you like about Howl's Moving Castle - what kind of read was it? Then put those values into the Whichbook site and see what you are offered.... it's much more intuitive and reader centred and its run by humans not bots.

Leila

@Annie: Yeah, that's what I meant by "This one uses sliders, so you can search for a sad-funny-disturbing-optimistic book, or a happy-serious-safe-bleak one, or anything in between."

But, yes. A) I didn't go into much depth, which was probably unfair to the website, and B) I should probably edit the list to re-categorize it so that it's not included with the other title-centric services.

I shall do that!

Leila

Er, wait. I just scanned through the list, and it IS already in the non-title-based section. SCORE. I was starting to feel like a failure for the oversight!

Claire

Even real-life readers' advisory librarians can be hit or miss, but I love that my library offers this personalized book recommendation service! Best part is that you don't need a library card, so anybody can use it, not just patrons in the system.

http://www.spl.org/using-the-library/get-help/your-next-5-books

Claire

Ugh, am on the desk and hopping between patrons so that came out weird and unintentionally argumentative - I mean "AS YOU KNOW ALREADY GOSH" about the vagaries of readers' advisory :).

Wsirn

Hi. Thanks for including WhatShouldIReadNext.com in your list! Sorry some of the results were a bit odd... Inevitably any algorithm will throw up a few curve balls at times, though the Dr Seuss one in particular doesn't make us look good. Part of our algorithm allows for what we call the 'Harry Potter Problem' - is so many readers like those books (or Hunger Games, or Twilight, etc etc) that they would be recommended to everyone if we didn't make allowances. But the 'Dr Seuss Problem' clearly represents an issue at the other end of the long tail. We are always keeping an eye on these things and looking at adjusting our algorithm to make things better. In fact, we have some possible tweaks we're trying out which would hammer this type of kink out more - if you'd be interested in looking at some test recommendations, we'd be delighted to have your input. Please let me know here and I can email you if so.

What we do do at least is automatically filter out books by the same author as it seems obvious that their books might be worth trying!

All the best; Andrew, WSIRN

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