Like music recommendations, movie recommendations, and suggestions of the ‘perfect’ place to get coffee – book recommendations are a delicate dance. There are simply so many titles out there, and for anyone to read through them all would take a few lifetimes to say the least.
This is why so many websites have popped up about different types of entertainment and media, giving people a platform to voice their thoughts and feelings towards the media they’re consuming. Rotten Tomatoes has already showcased the power a rating can have on public perception. With books, it can get a little more complicated.
Books are inherently self-reflective, inviting the imagination of the reader to fill in the blanks and paint the portraits of the characters they’re learning about. With so much subjectivity involved, the notion of recommending books is a complicated one. But a welcome challenge.
In lieu of simple ratings systems being implemented with a 1-10 scale being the outdated norm, some sites are instead going the holistic route, the road less travelled, and instead recommending books based on taste. For instance, sites like Meet New Books maneuver past the rating system and recommend books based on some unique descriptors and previous enjoyments.
Doing away with classic genre demarcation and delving into the thematic contents of the books without imbuing a rating is a delicate dance, and one we are all here for!
Browsing Digital Shelves
There was a time before kindles dominated the marketplace, where you’d see a new book being read by someone on the train, maybe the cover caught your eye, or it was coated in award stickers and bold letters. While these days are rarer in the real world, Meet New Books and sites like it allow people to discover a book by accident, the way it used to be.
The system of recommending and general browsing through similarly minded works is akin to a digital bookstore (remember those?), where having a look through the shelves was a delight in itself. The new way of recommending books is not through book clubs or from strangers on a train, it’s not from arbitrary ratings systems or numbered popularity, it is a healthy dose of like-minded readers expressing their own thoughts.
People are quickly noticing that popularity isn’t always a signifier of quality or compatibility. We’re certainly finding the honesty in sites like Meet New Books to be a much richer experience in discovering new books. The recommendations come from your own palate, and is solidified through unique descriptors, genre associations, and a wildly clever concept.
We’re looking forward to seeing what the next book will be, start browsing again. Stay curious.