Shepard and What Should I Read Next book discovery tools

21 July 2022
Bookshelves in bookshop, photo by wal_172619

Image courtesy of wal_172619.

Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down, was named winner of the 2022 Miles Franklin literary award yesterday. As I’ve said before, the long and short lists of literary awards are great places to find reading inspiration. But, if, unlike me, you’re a fast, prolific reader, you might run out of ideas quickly. There’s always Goodreads or StoryGraph (which isn’t half bad), but they’re not the only options for finding something new to read.

Shepherd, founded by Boulder, Colorado, based American entrepreneur Ben Fox, offers reading suggestions based on the recommendations of authors. Fox thinks searching for a book should be fun, an element he believes many online bookshops, and social cataloguing websites, lack.

As a reader, I am incredibly frustrated with the bleak wasteland that is online book discovery. The big bookstores sell books the same way they sell toothpaste, without passion. And, Goodreads makes finding new books about as much fun as browsing a spreadsheet. How you find a book is important. That search is the start of a journey and it should be fun.

In creating Shepherd, Fox hopes to bring the IRL bookstore experience online, and imbue some of the in-store spontaneity to the book discovery process.

What Should I Read Next (WSIRN) works a little differently. Rather than offering author recommendations as Shepherd does, WSIRN will make new reading suggestions based on titles you’ve read previously that you liked.

Enter a book you like and the site will analyse our huge database of real readers’ favourite books to provide book recommendations and suggestions for what to read next.

And it’s not just three or four titles either. For example, typing in Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, returns an extensive list of suggestions.

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