Since we just got through sharing some industry inside thoughts on becoming more savvy for Generation Z, we were thrilled to be introduced to a new book recommendation tool that fits the bill. Happily, it’s also fun for us Gen A through Y’s…
The BooksILove app is free, uber-easy to use, and makes recommending a favorite read a SNAP, without having to spend time thinking of what to say. Its 19 million-plus selection of books is powered by Bowker’s Books In Print® Global edition database.
In short, it ticks all the boxes of what today’s (and tomorrow’s!) busy reader needs to more easily share cool book recommendations with friends and on Facebook. Read on for a video demo and five fabulous advantages to authors.
What It Is
The Books I Love app is a fun way to send thoughtful book recommendations. It’s a mobile app available on iPhones, iPads and iPods with iOS7 (with plans to release in Windows and Android this year). The best part of BooksILove is that without typing a word, the user creates a thoughtful, catchy recommendation for the books they really care about, and sends them to friends. It’s kind of like Instagram for books.
Their approach is also a win-win for readers and authors/publishers. Because the app doesn’t use free-form recommendations, the user enjoys the convenience of quickly creating something interesting to send to their friends.
1. It collects intel on WHY someone likes your book: Books I Love gathers structured data that actually speaks to why someone reads the books they do, not just which books they’re buying on Amazon.com. In example, because they like the author, or the characters, conflict or dialogue.
2. It makes recommending a book FUN: Since the social web is visual, BooksILove wants to give authors and readers a visual language to share and discover books that are loved. In an interview with Geekwire, BooksILove co-founder Elizabeth DiMarco explained, ““(For) many people, it’s hard having to do long-form reviews, and so by tapping tiles, they’ll go, ‘Yeah, I like those characters, they were sort of blood-curdling and cheeky at the same time.’ They get to remember the things that were interesting and drew them into the book, in a sort of fun and game-like manner.”
3. It’s Instantaneous: Most recommendations happen on the go, by word-of-mouth, and now with BooksILove, when you receive a recommendation you’ll remember it! Likewise, when a reader finishes your book they can share a recommendation with a few simple clicks.
4. It encourages readers to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative”: Says BIL’s FAQ answer to “What if I Don’t Like a Book?” – “You probably won’t want to recommend it to anyone. The BooksILove app is for sharing the books you love…”
For any author who’s been bitten by a mean-spirited review or a snide social comment (typically and needlessly hurting the feelings of the author while making the reviewer feel self-important), we consider this a HUGE step in the right “If you don’t have something nice to say…” direction. Frankly, as readers, most of us would benefit more (and more quickly) from a good recommendation than wasting time reading negative feedback.
5. Readers can see on-app, on-Facebook, or even email recommendations: It’s like a free ad out there to that person’s reading universe when they recommend your book – nice touch!
Background and Buzz
“I absolutely love this app, as will any reader.” ~ Nancy Pearl, American librarian, best-selling author & literary critic
“Incredible! If you love books this is the app for you.” ~ Robert Dugoni, best-selling author of “The Conviction”
BooksILove was founded in early 2011 when long time best friends and Seattle entrepreneurs Elizabeth Dimarco and Kathy Weber sat down to talk about technology, the publishing industry, and how to save what they love about books. After a series of conversations, BooksILove was born.
Over the course of the next 12 months, Kathy and Elizabeth brought Andrew Sorkin and Brett Horvath into the management team. The 4-person team spoke with authors and publishing professionals, iterated on multiple product designs, and tested paper prototypes on target demographics.
Once the team felt confident in their product and user acquisition strategy, BooksILove formed a partnership with the Seattle based multi-screen agency Ratio; the app hit Apple iTunes in October. “Everyone we’ve shown it to and tested it with in the book industry loves loves loves it. And that makes us very happy!”
WWW is on that list of “everyone” and are pleased to report that Books I Love co-founder Elizabeth DiMarco will be joining the faculty of PubSmartCon in April, contributing to the discussion on cultivating influencers (readers, reviews and book clubs).
Here’s a quick 45-second demo of the BooksILove app, and we’d love to hear your thoughts, too!