Generally, we stick to just posting book requests, creative writing pieces and author interviews, but we were contacted by Shelf Joy last week and felt their site may interest some of you readers!
Shelf Joy is a free website for avid readers to discover books similar to those they are reading. The site uses a bot which basically takes the genre or book you’re reading and looks across a ‘shelf’ of other books that may be of interest to you. This makes finding a new book easier and faster.
Alternatively, you can speak to the bot by messenger (which isn’t as scary as it sounds!). The bot will give you a few options of what to say to it in a button format, so you just have to click the answer. For instance, after requesting to ‘Show Shelves’, I was able to click the arrow on the messenger shown below to find different categories, and when I felt satisfied with the choice I’d made (in this case science books for non-scientists), I clicked ‘Explore this shelf’ to get some books recommended. As you can see below, there are a few minor technical problems as the messages from the bot tend to send twice, but it replies instantaneously and gives you the cover of a book, its rating and a brief description, so the positives outweigh the negatives.
As I don’t use Twitter, I found that I was unable to login to the site, but this didn’t matter too much – regardless of having a login, you are allowed to find the ‘shelves’ you are interested in by typing in the genre required, for instance ‘women-writers’, then explore books on that shelf. The site is really easy to use and I’m glad to report it did not pry for any personal details, there are no pop-ups or adverts. The only other aspect that could be bettered is if the site was to have an 'about' section clearly marked that explained what it does for any new users.
Overall, it’s got a neat appearance and makes scouring for books a lot easier, though the website still has room to improve I’m sure it’ll thrive in popularity in the years to come!