Announcing Goodreads Personalized RecommendationsPosted by Kyusik Chung on September 15, 2011
Today, Goodreads launches a new personalized book recommendation engine. It takes recommendations to a new level of sophistication by analyzing both books and, more importantly, the people who read them. It’s the Netflix of book recommendations.
Finding a great book recommendation online has been a hit-and-miss affair to date. We’ve all experienced the unhelpful suggestion to read another book by an author we already love. And how about the dreaded impact of buying gifts on Amazon only to have irrelevant book recommendations come up for months afterwards?
Earlier this year, Goodreads purchased a company that had built a very sophisticated book recommendation system. Today, after months of hard work, we’re ready to provide you with book recommendations that take into account what you like and don’t like and what certain books mean to you.
To get started, rate at least 20 books (and rate much more to get even better recommendations). Categorize your books in custom shelves that reflect what the books mean to you. Then explore your recommendations. We apologize for the impact this will have on the size of your to-read shelf.
How Goodreads Recommendations Work
The Goodreads Recommendation Engine combines multiple proprietary algorithms which analyze 20 billion data points to better predict which books people will want to read next. It maps out the connections between books by looking at how often they appear on the same bookshelves and whether they were enjoyed by the same people. On average, Goodreads members have 140 books on their shelves. With this information, the engine learns how your tastes are similar to or different from the tastes of other Goodreads members.
So, a big part of the secret sauce is…you, the Goodreads community. The Goodreads community is almost six million members strong, and you’ve added a combined total of 190 million books to your shelves!
Take best-seller The Help as an example: Goodreads members have added over 175,000 ratings of the book and over 40,000 reviews. In comparison, Amazon has, to date, less than 4,500 reviews and ratings.
But it doesn’t end with raw numbers. Goodreads members have put The Help on bookshelves called Historical Fiction, Friendship, Racism, Women’s Fiction and Cultural > African American. You can see how this book means different things to different people. If you’re approaching this as Historical Fiction and have enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, then a great recommendation for you is These Is My Words. With Amazon, the focus is on other best-sellers so someone buying The Help would get recommendations for books as diverse as Water For Elephants, The Hunger Games, and One Day.
We welcome you to try our recommendations on for size. Compare them with anything else you’ve relied on online. Then tell us (and your friends) what you think. We think you’ll be blown away, and that you’ll meet your next favorite book on Goodreads.
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