The rise in popularity of eBooks has been great for avid readers. You can carry an entire library of books in your bag and when you finish one book, it takes only a few moments to get the next one in your hands. It is light-years away from reading all of the books that the local library has in a limited genre or hoping that the book shop has the book you are looking for.
Even so, this much choice has a downside to it. With almost every book ever written in English at your fingertips, how do you choose the right one? Could the overabundance of choice be keeping you from the books that would be perfect for you? Here are some online tools and websites that can help you narrow down your choice and help you discover a new book that you might not otherwise have heard of:
This website is essentially a social media site for book lovers. You can mark each book you have read, want to read, or are currently reading then give them a star rating. A list of recommendations based on your lists and ratings will be generated for you and sorted by genre. There are many additional features of Goodreads to find new books on the site, such as groups, discussions, book clubs, and user generated lists.
- Social media.
All of the major social media sites have communities of readers eager to discuss books and make recommendations to each other. Some like FaceBook and Twitter are more interactive, allowing for open discussions with other readers. Others like Tumblr and Pinterest are more about posting and sharing content, usually photos or amusing quotes. Regardless of which site you choose, you’ll find the members are enthusiastic about books and reading and willing to share their favourites. If you spend enough time on these sites then you will notice trends emerging and titles which are mentioned over and over again. You may find yourself reading a book just to see what all the fuss is about and gushing over your new favourite along with all the other users. Always keep an eye out for free giveaways and other contests as authors often use these to promote their books.
- TV Tropes.
Be warned, this site is so addictive that it may take time away from reading! This website lists the common themes or ‘tropes’ which appear in works of fiction. You can see either which tropes appear in a particular work or all of the books, movies, TV shows etc. that a particular trope appears in. This is a useful tool for finding books with a particular theme or plot element that you enjoy.
For instance, if you enjoy books with dragons, you can search for dragons on TV Tropes and find a whole list of books which feature dragons of all kinds. If you liked the love triangle story in The Hunger Games, you can click on ‘love triangle’ on the book’s page and find other books containing love triangles. Don’t worry, the spoilers are all hidden!
- Free book reviews.
If you read a lot of books, you may as well get books for free! Many sites such as Bloggingforbooks, Storycartel, or Goodreads mentioned above offer free PDF copies of books in exchange for an honest review of the book. All you have to do is sign up to the site, select the book you want, and you’ll receive a free download that you can put on your Nook to buy eBooks. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the book and can’t finish it, you can say whatever you thought of the book, good or bad, in your review.
Many authors offer these free reviews ahead of the book’s official publication date so it is a good way to stay ahead of the curve. Most of the books offered are self-published books written by indie authors so while this means the quality of the books varies, it does give you access to lesser known books that you would otherwise have never heard of.
- Buzzfeed book newsletter.
There are many book recommendation newsletters and podcasts out there, but the one offered by entertainment site Buzzfeed is one of the most entertaining and substantial. There are lists of everything from the top fantasy books to books to get you through your twenties. The book section of the website also offers a lot of fun content, including trivia, quizzes, author interviews, and book related news.
If you’re trawling through your eReader’s recommendation list and feeling stumped, these tools, either individually or combined, will fill up your device with the right books for you. By taking out the time spent choosing a book, you can spend more time actually reading!