It would be great if when you finished reading a book from the library that the library could somehow recommend a new book for you to read, based on the books you have already read. Online book retailers possess this ability to recommend books to consumers, and it has become quite powerful. Even when shopping at physical Barnes and Noble stores, their book recommendations based on what you purchased are printed at the bottom of the receipt. Luckily for us library aficionados, the recommendation technology has finally reached the check out lane.
Zola Books, an online book retailer, is partnering with BiblioCommons, a vendor of digital services to libraries, to bring Zola’s Bookish recommendation engine to 67 libraries in the BiblioCommons network in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Before Zola acquired Bookish, which was originally founded by three of the Big Five publishers, Zola worked to create its consumer retailing outlet while developing a platform of B2B services and tools.
At the beginning of 2014, Zola Books introduced the Bookish technology into its retail site and also launched the technology on the New York Public Library online catalog pages in March. The Bookish Recommends technology provides APIs, which allow easy digital access to selected content and partners, to participating libraries that can then be integrated into their online platforms. The Bookish algorithm provides users with book recommendations based on more than 1.7 billion unique identifiers attached to the titles in a database of more than 500,000 books. On the NYPL catalog site, users searching for a book will see a “Bookish Recommends” list that includes the book covers right next to their original search.
Even though Bookish Recommends has become a way to introduce titles to consumers, it has also continued as a standalone site that actually sells books. Zola Books CEO Joe Regal said that the Bookish site will become more of an “editorially-driven site, a consumer face.” He added that after years of building Zola Books, that they are getting closer to becoming a book publishing destination site.
This news makes me more excited to check out an e-book from the library. Keep those recommendations coming.
Find the original article about Bookish Recommends on Publishers Weekly.