6 Great Online Book Recommendation Services

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Books hold one of the oldest and most expressive forms of communication: the written word. Fortunately, the distribution of books (physical and digital) isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. For those who love a good read, here are six great book recommendation services.

SEE ALSO: 6 Sites for Buying Books Online in Malaysia

1. Shelfari

Shelfari is a book recommendation engine with a social networking component added into the mix. A website by, Shelfari uses the online retail giant’s extensive user review database to provide personalized book recommendations.

Shelfari call themselves a “community-powered book encyclopedia for book lovers”. You can visit the site to read reviews and find suggestions. However, the site works even better when you build a virtual bookshelf based on your favourite books and when you connect with friends and those with similar interests.

Visit Shelfari

2. Goodreads

Goodreads is another very popular book recommendation service.  It is similar to Shelfari in certain aspects, such as the social component. Additionally, you can sign up, build your ‘shelves’ with books that you have read, you are currently reading, or that you want to read.  You then can either start receiving recommendations or jump straight into finding out what your friends like reading. This, however, tends to work better when you have friends who have similar reading tastes using the service.

You can explore recommendations, which are sorted by genre and based upon interests you’ve submitted. Another helpful feature is reading the reviews posted by Goodreads’ knowledgeable online community.

Visit Goodreads

3. What Should I Read Next?

What Should I Read Next? is great at doing exactly what its title suggests.  This is a very simple book recommendation engine.  The website prompts users to enter a book title or author, and the site will then provide you with a list of books that best match your interests. The recommendations are based on an algorithm using the website’s database of people’s favourite books.


Recommended books are tagged with short descriptions and links to the books on You can read more about using in our last point listed below.

Visit What Should I Read Next?

4. LibraryThing

Touting itself as the world’s largest book club, LibraryThing primarily focuses on connecting readers with new books using the website’s community. With an extremely large community of up to 1.7 million readers, you are bound to find at least a few readers who share similar reading tastes. The site also has an extremely large source of book titles, from Amazon, the Library of Congress, and 690 world libraries.

After building your book catalogue on the site, that’s when the recommendations come pouring in, usually coming from its extensive user base. With a free account,  you can enter up to 200 books for your catalogue. However, if you want to add more books than that, you will have to pay an annual fee (US$10 / year or ~RM30 / year) or purchase the lifetime membership (US$25  one time or ~RM75 one time).

Visit LibraryThing

5. Whichbook

A book recommendation engine with an emotional twist, Whichbook recommends books very differently than the other services. It provides recommendations based on the emotion or mood associated with the book. When searching for a book on the site, you select settings for up to four emotion categories. The results will show the books’ extracts, parallels, profiles, similar books, and a share button.

Whichbook also lets you sign up and create reading lists for personal reference or sharing purposes. While the selection process is intriguing, one of the downfalls of the website is that it does not sort books based on genre, but instead basically makes recommendations based upon the books outcome.  Additionally, you should note that this book recommendation service is far from perfect.  It’s interesting to try, but it likely won’t be your go-to book recommendation service.

Visit Whichbook

6. Amazon

Amazon is known for being the leader in e-commerce but in the company’s early days, it primarily just sold books.  To this day, Amazon offers a huge selection of books, which can be purchased and delivered to Malaysia.  However, instead of just buying books on Amazon, you can use the site as a great resource to find new books.

First, Amazon has an enormous database of reader-generated lists, called Listamanias. A couple of examples include “Funniest Novels” or “Must Read Stephen King Books“. These Lists can be insightful, especially when you read a list that contains multiple books you like, as then there is a good chance you may like the other ones listed. Second, the actual product page on Amazon usually has some insightful reviews. Definitely read them but also be cautious as some might be fake. Lastly, there is a section on each individual book page titled, “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought”.  This section can be great for discovering similar books.



SEE ALSO: 20 Best Selling Books on in 2013

How do you find new books to read besides asking your friends and family? Post a thought in the comments below.

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Ben Hock Seng

I use regularly to help me find new books. Goodreads is one my friends and family use, and I’m still meaning to use it more frequently.

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