Random House has launched an app called BookScout aimed at the book lovers among Facebook’s 1 billion members. BookScout enables readers to broadcast the books they’re reading, check out what their friends are reading, and buy the title that strikes their fancy. The app will recommend books based on books they’ve previously “Liked” or added to their bookshelf. Users can also search for titles/authors.
Some independently-published and self-published authors/titles do not surface in search results. Before I “Liked” a book, my bookshelf was pre-populated with books I had long ago mentioned on Facebook, though, strangely, my book Powder Necklace was not among the pre-populated “Likes”.
Obviously, this is not about reading choices you’d prefer to keep private. If you don’t want people to know you’re reading and loving Fifty Shades of Gray, for example, avoid BookScout. According to the app disclaimer, “A post is displayed on your Facebook News Feed when you ‘Like’ a book, comment on a book, or add a book to your Bookshelf. But don’t worry! Facebook spaces out your book actions, so you won’t be spamming your friends with every book you interact with.”
It will be interesting to see how this app impacts/coexists with Goodreads which also has a (less intuitive) Facebook app. Last year, Goodreads grew from 6.5 to 13 million members last year becoming even more important to writers, and publishers.