Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Goodreads :: New Personalized Recommendations Feature!

My favorite book-related social website is by far... Goodreads. It is definitely the most comprehensive and user-friendly of the many that are out there. It also has the most users out of the other social networks for readers. This past week, they launched a new component to their website that I've actually been waiting for and it looks great!

Goodreads now offers personalized recommendations a la Netflix-style! One of the things I love about Netflix is that it is easy to rate the movies that you've seen and now that I have close to 900 movies rated in the system, it is almost scary how accurate and spot on their recommendations are about how I'd rate movies I haven't seen yet. I am SO excited that Goodreads has started the same kind of feature, especially since I'm always in search of the next best book to lose sleep over and fall deeply in love with.

On your front page, you can easily find your "personalized recommendations" on the top right hand side. It will have a box with the number of books you've rated so far. I'm thinking, the more you rate, the better your recommendations will be. According to the email I received from Goodreads today, you need to rate at least 20 books to get started.

Once you click on that, you end up at a personalized page of the shelves that you have made so far in Goodreads.

This shelf feature makes me want to go back and re-organize my books onto better shelves. This is not good for my OCD-tendencies! This is from the email:

Step 3: Refine your recommendations.
  • Pick your favorite genres.
  • Group books that belong together on custom bookshelves. For example, you might create shelves called "women-historical-fiction" or "spy-thrillers-WWII" or "green-nonfiction." We'll recommend more books that are related to the group and help you explore the topic further.

I think that's something I might do on a lazy Saturday when I'm just clicking away on the Internet.

Here's a snapshot of my chick-lit shelf. I've already added several books to my want-to-read list, as well as rated several books that I forgot that I've read and haven't added to my Goodreads yet. (Just like you do on Netflix!)
It's so simple to use. You just click on "want to read" and it automatically goes to your "to-read" list. Rating is simple as well. You just click on the star rating and it saves it to you "read" list.  Genius!

It's a little mind-boggling to think about how they are actually able to do this. According to their email, this is how they do it:

Using a secret sauce (a.k.a. proprietary algorithms) and 20 billion data points provided by the world's largest community of readers (that's you!), our recommendation engine analyzes both books and, more importantly, the people who read them.

All in all, I had fun poking around this new Goodreads feature this past weekend and see a lot of potential for it in the future. As an avid Goodreads user, I am so stoked that they finally launched this because I am always in search of a new book to read and looking for book recommendations. I think as the more people use it, the better it's going to get at matching you to books you'd like. Can't wait!

Let me know if you decide to check it out and friend me on Goodreads if you haven't yet!

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