Feeling Bookish?


Bookish has finally launched, about 2 years late, but hey that’s the speed at which major publishing houses move.

This is a publisher-driven (20 larger publishers, see below) booksite similar to Goodreads. Except, of course, the only books you’ll find on it or be recommended to read are ones by the publishers sponsoring it, which is not a bad thing, just something to be aware of.

It looks to be fairly hip, pintrest-ish site. The Registration experience is pretty intense, but they want to “customize” your experience. Not sure why they need your zipcode or sex, but it was interesting they asked for a preferred format. It was also interesting that under sex the choices were Female, Male and Other — in that order. This implies they are expecting female readers.


Using the Recommendations box is also an interesting experience. It asks you to put in a book you recently read. We put in “The Extra Man” an Easter mystery by Indra Anderson. Nothing. The truth is, after several more attempts, it was clear the only books you can use to generate recommendations are books by the sponsoring 20 publishers. So far the Bookish catalog contains 251,029 books.

Bookish seems too little too late. It would have been a good idea 5 years ago. Today? Not so much. It just continues to make the big publishers look behind the times and somewhat out of touch. However, we can say a good thing about Bookish — they do request an age, so they don’t give you inappropriate content.

This is something Goodreads fails to do — and it has some bad consequences. For instance, publishers end up in situations such as having to send a clearly R-rated book won in a Goodreads’ Giveaway to someone whose profile lists her age as 10. Failing to send the book means the publisher is unable to host future giveaways, so . . . .

In a recent NYTimes article on the launch of Bookish, Goodreads’ owner suggested that the Goodreads site is more reader-driven (true) and less likely to have ghost-written glowing reviews about books (false).  Goodreads certainly has a better chance of giving a book an honest overall rating because it has so many passionate readers. However, just as on Amazon, there are people on Goodreads who do quid pro quo,  “send me a free book and I’ll give it a good review.”

Bookish is a bit like Amazon in that you can read samples and then decide to buy the book directly. It also provides an opportunity for you to rate and review the books, which might be more helpful in future — depending on how the reviews are controlled. For, despite Bookish being brand new, there are already loads of rating and reviews.

Bookish reviews are all pulled from LibraryThing currently. And something you notice right away is that every book has an amazingly  high star rating, 4.5 out of 5, 8.5 out of  9. Apparently every book is wonderful. Already sensing a problem? Us too! It seems as though they will give you a wide range of reviews (from 1 star to the max), but when put together, the book is always a superstar. Sorry, that just smacks of Bookish tweaking the reviews.

At any rate, Bookish seems a glossy, design-hip, interactive direct-selling tool for major publishers’ upcoming books and recent back catalog. Whether that’s of use to the majority of readers already using Goodreads and other sites, which are inclusive of a much wider range of books with less suspect ratings systems, remains to be seen.

And the publishers are . . . .

Hachette Book Group
HarperCollins Publishers
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Inner Traditions
Independent Publishers Group
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Kensington Publishing Corp.
New Harbinger Publications
Perseus Books Group 
Penguin Group (USA)
Random House, Inc.
Simon & Schuster
Sourcebooks, Inc.
Workman Publishing Company
W. W. Norton & Company

Published in: on February 20, 2013 at 12:27 PM  Leave a Comment  
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