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Apple bought, shuttered book recommender Booklamp in April
July 26, 2014 | 9:01 pm

MacRumors reports that Apple bought and shut down book-recommendation service Booklamp back in April. Booklamp was intended to be a sort of “Pandora for Books”—it used a similar system of categorizing books based on specific elements—but as I determined when I checked into it last November, it fell pretty far short of actually being useful, for two major reasons: it didn’t have a very big selection due to its opt-in nature, and it couldn’t account for humor. Apple hasn’t been saying much about why it bought the service, but that’s not unexpected. I imagine that, as is usually the...

Novelry looks to be the online bookstore when it comes to discoverability
June 5, 2014 | 1:39 pm

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the kind of book you want. Without a title or an author, searching by topics isn’t as easy as it should be online – not as easy browsing the shelves at a bookstore or a library. Digital start up Novelry is hoping to make that easier....

BookBub secures funding to expand internationally
May 1, 2014 | 4:32 pm

BB_LogoBookBub has raised $3.8 million in Series A funding, the company announced on Thursday. BookBub is an e-book recommendation service, sending daily emails to its members with a list of books it thinks they would be interested in based on user interests. BookBub intends to use the money to expand internationally, a spokesperson said. Investors include NextView Ventures, Founder Collective, Avalon Ventures, and Bloomberg Beta. According to BookBub, it is close to three million members. E-books from all sorts of publishers are represented in its recommendations from the Big Five to independent authors. Members purchase more than one million ebooks per month because...

BookBub offers readers a way to discover books through email
January 13, 2014 | 12:25 pm

bookbub With ebooks as a popular medium for readers and writers, there has to be a way to wade through the noise to find the books you want to read. BookBub looks to be that middleman by promoting discounted books to email subscribers. The company was launched in early 2012 by Josh Schanker and Nicholas Ciarelli. They didn’t have a background in publishing, but instead digital media. It seems they have a found a good mix as the company has more than two million subscribers. “They were exposed to this industry for the first time when a friend asked them to help her think...

Booklamp and discoverability: Nice try, but still has serious shortcomings
November 30, 2013 | 12:14 pm

A random comment on an IRC channel today recalled my attention to Booklamp, and the Book Genome Project, which we’ve mentioned a few times in years gone by. It’s been a couple of years since it was introduced, and I decided to take another look at the site and see what it looks like. Booklamp is a means of tackling the discoverability problem: how do you find a book you might want to read in the modern world, when you might not often visit a library or even bestir yourself away from your computer? I certainly can’t fault it...

Book Discoverability: Whose Problem Is It Anyway?
November 21, 2013 | 2:53 pm

book discoverabilityI just discovered a blog called Bookavore, which published a great little essay this week. The topic was 'book discoverability' and Bookavore wonders just how big a problem this really is. From the article: I agree...that there is an audience discovery problem for authors (and publishers). But I really can’t get on board with this idea that readers have a book discovery problem, no matter how many times I hear it. I think publishers just really want readers to have discovery problems, so we can all be in the same boat. It was an interesting observation, and, I think, a true one....

Click this title: College Humor runs clickbait covers
October 18, 2013 | 12:07 pm

As someone who has to struggle daily with the distortions, constraints, and outright weirdness of search engine optimization for article headlines, I can tell you that the results can sometimes be pretty screwed up. But few weirder than this series of hilariously classic and popular book covers and titles, courtesy of College Humor - reoptimized for max clickthrough. As kind of a backhand tribute to the ebook porn hysteria, we could always go with this:   Would Harper Lee still be in line for the Presidential Medal of Freedom if she had written this?   And I don't think E.L. James could have got any...

The Book Elf: Another Attempt to Share E-Books
June 25, 2013 | 6:27 pm

Ah, will it never cease? Darn you readers for wanting to treat e-books like paper books, and wanting to actually share them! So, yet another e-book sharing method is coming. It's called The Book Elf (cute name), and while they are starting out with public domain books, they say they'll be bringing on copyrighted content soon. The idea is simple. Users can add books on their shelf to share (read: lend) to their friends. They won't use DRM file formats but will instead build DRM into the website. I'll be interested to see how that works, and how users will transfer books to...

Are “new” books working Amazon’s system?
April 15, 2013 | 3:30 pm

AmazonL.J. Sellers has picked up on a trend on Amazon. The novelist who writes for the Crime Fiction Collective blog noticed old books popping up on lists for new releases. If the book has been out for several years, how can it become a “hot, new release?” Sellers writes: “The newest trend I've noticed is the republishing of the same book. What I see happening is that familiar books that were competitive on Amazon's crime fiction list, dropped off the list, then came roaring back with a new pub date and a high profile.” Essentially, publishers or authors are re-releasing e-books with a new publishing date, and...

Why the Failure of Books on Board Should Worry Authors
April 8, 2013 | 3:00 pm

Books on BoardIn today's Morning Links was a great essay from Michael Kozlowski on the 'death' of the indie e-bookstore. Books on Board was killed by the agency pricing model, and a failure to innovate and provide better customer experiences such as mobile browsing and more refined search algorithms, Kozlowski alleges. His conclusion, in particular, jumped out at me: "Indie bookseller websites are less about just selling books in the traditional sense, and more about reaching the largest audience you can. There is room in the industry for smaller players, but they have to be savvy. Opening up a Facebook Book Store, developing apps, making a...

Check out Book Bub, a great book recommending service
March 19, 2013 | 2:47 pm

On the advice of a TeleRead commenter, I've spent the last two weeks trying out a book recommending service called Book Bub. So far, I'm enjoying it. Book Bub's premise is simple: When you register (it's free), you select from an offering of genres that interest you, and every day, Book Bub sends you an email with a few free or discounted books in your chosen genres. That's all there is to it. In general, I'm finding Book Bub's one, single email a bit easier for me to keep track of than a blog these days—I still haven't decided what I plan...

Feeling Bookish: CEO Ardy Khazaei on the real aims—and real benefits—of the publisher joint venture
March 16, 2013 | 4:45 pm

BookishWhile it’s odd to think of an organization backed by the  Penguin, Hachette and Simon & Schuster as a startup, Bookish, the new book-recommendation and -discovery site is essentially that. After two years in development under three CEOs, Bookish is now a reality, a place where users can get recommendations—based on titles or groups of titles they know they already like—and then, importantly, purchase them. Like the Random House project BookScout, the idea, on one level, is to facilitate discovery across the industry, for the good of the industry. And while users can discover just about any book, the books they can purchase...

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