Discovereads bills itself as having the best book recommendation system online. I'm okay with that. They do it online, with an algorithm; no people involved. But then I get to the user comments further down the page, and I have to admit, I may not be able to control my anger:
This site helps me discover new books I would never have known about, based on my previously read and liked books! It takes all the headache out of looking for a new book to read once I've finished my present story. My only problem is choosing between all the interesting reads suggested!I like Discovereads! It gives me great book recommendations that really fit me.I've had a lot of difficulty finding books in the past, but after spending a little while on your site, I now have thirteen potential reads.
HAVE THESE PEOPLE NOT HEARD OF THE LIBRARY!!!!! Sorry for the caps, but I am not happy here. From where I sit, these comments are ridiculous. They are thanking a computer for helping them do something that an actual trained person can help them do either in-person, over the phone, or over the computer through the local library. Oh, and that actual person can get you the actual books in print, audio, or ebook format...for free!!!
Audrey, we have book suggestions that fit you at the library. Jeffrey, you would not have had trouble in the past if you had called us, at your local library, first, and Emily, we are all about preventing headaches at the RA desk. You just need to remember that trained people exist to help you. If the three of you could have seen the diverse group of people I helped to find their next good read just yesterday alone, you would be singing the librarian's praises, not some algorithm's.
That is not to say that computer generated suggestion sites like Discovereads or Gnooks do not have a place in the RA world. In fact, they are a great option when you are stuck for ideas, but nothing beats talking to a trained readers' advisor about your reading tastes. Quite often readers cannot articulate why they like a certain book. They need to be asked specific questions about why they liked the pacing, storyline, characters, mood, style, and language. From their answers, the RA librarian can begin to craft suggestions.
Also, these resources do not take the most important RA interview question into consideration..." Are you in the mood for that or something different." Meaning, just because I gave a book 5 stars on a website a week ago, that does not mean that I want another book exactly like it now. Maybe I want something completely different. How is the computer going to figure that out? No one reads the exact same type of book over and over.
The point is, a trained librarian can do a much better job than a computer. And, you could contact us online too. Don't agree? Ask me to help you. See if I can do better than the computer.