Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Book Scout
By OFW Editor: Carlos J Cortes
Published: January 22, 2013

Over the past few months, the large publishing conglomerates have been sharpening their talons, often without much advance publicity, quietly, but without losing sight that in the current maelstrom shaking the industry the early bird gets the worm.

The hackneyed proverb is only half true. Some shrewd players wait patiently on the sidelines, gathering data and watching others. After all, as another saying goes, the second mouse gets the cheese.

On January 22, Dianna Dilworth reported in Mediabistro the latest public move by Random House:

Random House has introduced a new Facebook app called BookScout that helps readers discover books and share these finds with their friends.

When you first sign up for the app it will recommend books to you based on your Facebook timeline. Then you can select the book and identify whether or not to you want to share it; if you are currently reading it; if you want to read it or have read it; or if you are not interested in it. Based on these responses, the app will continue to recommend books for you as it hones in a more personalized profile for you.

If you like a book, you can click on it to find out more. From there you can buy the book from any number of book retailers with an additional click. For example, the app recommended that this blogger would like A Week at the Airport by Alain de Botton. Clicking through the the description page with a buy button linked me to nine retailers carrying the book including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookAMillion and IndieBound.

The cool thing about the app is that it recommends titles from various publishers and not just Random House, so you’ll get a more well rounded recommendation and not just, this is what you might like to read from Random House. The app also lets you browse bestsellers lists by category (which is based on industry sales data), as well as popular titles on BookScout.

Nice move. When I read it I felt all soft inside from Random House’s largesse to include books published by rival companies in the app’s results. Then I wondered if it was a preemptive action to thwart wagging tongues complaining of limited choice. As usual I would be wrong.

So I checked the app at the Facebook App Center to be greeted with:

Misconfigured App
Sorry, the details for BookScout cannot be displayed because the app is misconfigured.

Oh well… beginnings are hard, even in the best families.

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