A number of websites and e-mail services have popped up in recent years that are designed to help readers find new books to read. Some, like GoodReads and Shelfari, are designed to foster community and get people talking to one another about the books they’re reading.
But you know, sometimes you just want to cut through the chatter and find something to read already. In that case, WhatShouldIReadNext.com could be just the ticket.
The site was begun in 2005 by Andrew Chapman and Paul Lenz, self-professed book lovers, who wanted a place where readers could share lists of their favorite books with other readers. Here’s how their FAQ describes the sorting process: “WSIRN produces recommendations based purely on collective taste: when books are entered into the same favorites list, they become associated with each other. The more often particular items appear on different lists, the stronger that association becomes. Purely and simply, WSIRN represents mass opinion about books. For the technically minded, this is a collaborative filtering system, using our own bespoke algorithm called ‘Incidence Bias Weighting’ and partly using association rules.”
The site is free (they earn money from affiliate fees when you click through to buy a book), and the only thing you have to give them when you join is your e-mail address.
On the landing page, there’s a box where you can start typing the title of a book or an author. I used the Evil Mastermind as an example. Look at all the books that guy has in the database!
When you click on a book title, it takes you to the page where you can enter your e-mail address. Now you’re registered with the site, and the book you picked has been added as the first one on your list.
But what if your book isn’t in their database yet? I used one of my own books as an example.
I typed in “SwanSong” and got no hits. But all is not lost, because they give you a series of boxes where you can enter your book’s ISBN. I just pasted in the number, hit enter, and ta-da! SwanSong is now in their database.
Don’t forget that print books have two ISBNs, one ten digits long and the other thirteen digits long. If the search function can’t find your book with one of the numbers, try the other one. That happened to me with one of my Pipe Woman Chronicles books.
Also, note that the site asks for ISBNs, not ASINs. They’re not set up to catalog Kindle books. However, epubs have ISBNs, so if you’ve got an epub version of your book, try submitting that ISBN and see if it gets you into the database.
So it’s easy to get your books into the What Should I Read Next? database. The trick is getting them to show up in other people’s searches – and that will require readers adding your books to their lists. But at least now you’re in the system.