This month, I’m delighted to introduce Ben Fox as a guest on my blog. Ben is the founder of a book search site, to which I have contributed several recommendations. As well as being a terrific online resource, it’s giving me a great opportunity to support other writers’ work.
Ben’s approach to helping readers find new exciting reads and old favourites is enterprising and innovative, so I asked him to tell us a bit more about using his book recommendation site called Shepherd. Here’s what he had to say.
Finding your next book should be an exciting journey with a dash of serendipity! When I walk into my local bookstore, I am filled with a sense of wonder about what I am about to discover. Yet when I browse books online, I am filled with dread. Online bookstores sell books with the same passion as they sell toothpaste.
I am on a mission to change this dire situation.
I launched Shepherd.com a year ago, and I started with a simple approach. My local bookstore leaves notes to highlight what books they love, and that is what I have done with one small twist. I ask authors to recommend 5 of their favorite books around a topic, theme, or mood. And I feature the author and their book at the top of their recommendations. The result is a fantastic book recommendation from an author you might not know about.
Here are some examples by authors you might know…
- Beth Haslam on the best books set in France to inspire and excite the imagination.
- Victoria Twead on the best books on moving to Spain
- Sarah Rowlands on the best storytelling books about how history has influenced wines
- Michael Konik on the best books about inspiring dogs
And, we give readers fun ways to bump into books. Using our search feature at the top of every page, you can browse for books by a Wikipedia topic, by a favorite author, or by a favorite book. For example, if you put in Beth Haslam as your favourite author, you are recommended bookshelves on things like France, dogs, and explorers. Plus, book recommendation lists like the best novels by French women and the most inspiring books about dealing with unexpected events.
Our bookshelves focus on big topics like France, dogs, cats, or the Western Front in WW1. And, they give the reader the chance to bump into books they might not know about. Toward the end of this year, we will add a feature so that readers can filter books on this page by genre and other categories.
We have a lot of great features coming in 2022 and 2023. Soon we will have a custom book recommendation newsletter based on topics, books, and authors you love. At the heart of everything we do is a personal book recommendation from an author or expert. And, every feature we build will add fun and serendipity to book discovery.
I’d love to know what you think, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up here to be notified when we launch new book discovery features for readers.