Friday, November 30, 2012

For Your Reading Pleasure

Between the Holidays and cold, rainy afternoons that simply beg for a book tis the season for finding great reads.  Whether you are shopping for yourself or for your students...or looking for gift ideas for friends and family, here a few online resources to find new books!


Net Galley
Want to read books that have not been published yet? Check out NetGalley!

Sign up on NetGalley and search books by recently added, most requested, themes, title, author, ISBN or by publishers. You send a request to the publisher to have access to their book; to improve your chances to be granted access (especially for the most requested titles), make sure to include in your profile that you work for a school, as well as your blog or Twitter, if you use those to talk about the books you have read. The more (good) publicity you will bring publishers, the better chances you will have to get access to the books you want.

Here is an example of a book that is on my shelf: I can send it to my Kindle, or download it to read on my computer through an Adobe program.

The ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) do have an expiration date however (though it is usually weeks or months into the future) so make sure to not forget the books you have on your shelf!

Gnooks & Literature Map

Gnooks is similar to Pandora, but for books! Go to Gnooks, and enter up to three authors whose work you enjoy reading.  Gnooks will suggest one author; click the "I like it!", "I don't like it!" or "I don't know it!" to help Gnooks suggest more authors that will fit your preferences.

You can also click the "on the map" link to see an interactive Literature Map of authors whose bodies of work are similar to the one suggested. As the website states, "[t]he closer two writers are, the more likely someone will like both of them." 

You will not get recommendations for titles, but you get lots of recommendations of authors to look up!

The Staff Recommends
Created by professional readers, editors, and authors, TheStaffRecommends calls itself an "advertorial publication". This is because publishers send them books they would like them to review; and publishers pay for the books that do make it on their website.

While there is no search feature here, you can still have the online version of the "Our staff likes these books" that can be found in bookstores.

More targeted towards high school students and adults, WhichBook gets you to use the sliders on the left hand side of the screen (up to 4 sliders) to describe the kind of book you want to read: happy or sad? Funny or serious? Safe or disturbing? Expected or unpredictable? You can also change the sliders to focus more on character, plot or setting.

The results appear on the right hand side, and each record includes: title, author, quick summary, image of the cover, as well as links to an extract, books with the same themes ("Parallels"), its full profile (where the book ranks on each slider), other books like it ("Find similar") and a function to share the information about that book to others via Facebook or email. The "Buy" button will take you to (where else?) Amazon, and the "Borrow" button shows you which libraries have a copy of it.

Enter a title in the "What book to read next?" box on the right-hand-side of the screen, and you will be given a list of books related to your search. You can continue looking for books by clicking on any title in the results page, or by following the tags that interest you.

Based on the "Frequently Bought Together" bar you can find in each product page on Amazon, Yasiv offers you a visual guide of what people purchased in conjunction with the item you looked up (tip to find gifts for the holiday season: Yasiv is not limited to books!).
Clicking on one item will easily get you to its Amazon page, including its price and customer reviews.

What Should I Read Next?
One of the simplest tools out there, What Should I Read Next allows you to enter the title of a book or the name of an author and find books related to your search. You can register (it's free) to create booklists.  Once registered click on the titles in your results page, and it will lead you to the Amazon page for that book.

The Book Seer
The Book Seer is one of the most basic book recommendation tools out there, needing a book title and an author's name to generate a list. However, it seems to be down at the moment. Hopefully it will come back online soon.

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