The main ways readers discover books today are generally echo chambers: Other people who bought this also bought that; other people who liked this also like that; best-seller lists; recommendations from friends.
All of these methods have the effect of the same popular, top-selling books being recommended repeatedly.
A new piece of software takes aim at this issue. Booksai, a project in development around the world, uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to recommend books that are like the books you like – with some surprising results. Booklamp, which calls itself the Pandora for books, tries to do much the same.
The question for publishers is, will recommendation engines like this take off and, if so, will they help sell more books that aren’t on best-seller lists?
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The rest of the day’s top news:
HarperCollins Advocating DRM-Free? (DBW)
HarperCollins romance imprint Avon has launched a Facebook app that allows users to browse books, read excerpts (up to 20% of the title) and share it all with their Facebook friends. The app also pushes readers who want to purchase to a digital-rights-management-free e-bookstore. Related: Macmillan’s DRM-Free Bookstore.
Speaking of Social Reading (DBW)
Social reading platform Readmill has relaunched its iPad app and it now supports Adobe digital rights management and Adobe e-book files.
HarperCollins Celeb Obsession (Pub Lunch)
With the introduction of the new Johnny Depp imprint Infinitum Nihil, HarperCollins is leading the pack on celebrity imprints.
Reuters E-Book (Reuters)
Reuters has published a new e-book that examines the political environment in the U.S. in the run-up to the 2012 elections.
Microsoft Sets Price for New Tablet (WSJ)
Microsoft will offer its new Surface tablet starting at $499. Versions with more memory will be priced as high as $699. The company anticipates selling up to five million of the devices in the fourth quarter. The price point puts the Surface in direct competition with the iPad.
Speaking of the iPad (TechCrunch)
The iPad is likely getting a new sibling: the iPad Mini. While this hasn’t been confirmed as the name of the device yet, the media recently received invitations to an Oct. 13 Apple event at which the tablet may be unveiled.
Digital Public Library Beta Launch in April (DanCohen.org)
The ambitious digital public library project – an online destination that pool’s the nation’s library resources for the benefit of the public – has set a date for a beta launch: April 2013. The project was initially proposed two years ago.
Pearson Acquires Online Learning Company (Pearson)
Penguin parent Pearson will acquire EmbanetCompass, an online learning firm that partners with over 100 universities. Sticker price? $650 million in cash.
Under the Hood of The Fifty Year Sword Enhanced E-Book (Appnewser)
Mark Z. Danielewski had a vision for the enhanced e-book for his new title The Fifty Year Sword. The enhanced e-book producers at Random House helped execute this vision. Appnewser talked with both Danielewski and the Random House staff to get the skinny.