GOODREADS Acquires Discovereads

Goodreads Discovereads

Online booklovers social network GOODREADS announced last week that it had purchased Discovereads, a company that provides algorithmic book recommendations in order to provide Goodreads users with book recommendations using a Netflix-style algorithm.

While Goodreads was originally founded to help readers find new books based on what their friends are reading, now the site will be able to compete with Amazon in terms of book-choosing ability. Discovereads CEO and soon to be VP of Goodreads Business Development, Kyusik Chung said in a statement,

“Until now, Amazon was the only source of algorithmic book recommendations of any quality, but their recommendations are hampered because they usually don’t have a long list of ratings from any individual to gain a deep understanding of what books he or she likes. Goodreads doesn’t have that problem-their dataset per person is rich and deep, and we will be able to build some really amazing experiences with it.”

More than 300,000 books will be published this year and with substantially more self-published authors jumping in to the pool thanks to the popularity of e-books, it is becoming increasingly difficult for readers to sift through and discover new books and authors. Goodreads thinks this new partnership will help users solve this problem. According to Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler,

“We have so much data on what people read, but we’ve never built algorithmic recommendations because it’s a really, really, hard problem to get right. We’re excited to have the Discovereads team onboard, because they are experts in machine learning algorithms.”

Discovereads has taken three years to refine the technology to a precise level. The Discovereads technology combines multiple machine learning algorithms and graph analysis techniques to analyze book ratings and spot trends. Goodreads expects to have Discovereads fully integrated within the next three months. Once they are integrated, the Discovereads site will close.

The Discovereads technology will also improve Goodreads’ targeted advertising program. Authors and publishers can purchase ads for their books to be targeted to members who have read similar genres. All six major publishers actively work with Goodreads to promote their books, and authors such as James Patterson, Neil Gaiman, Paulo Coelho, Richelle Mead, Cassandra Clare, Margaret Atwood, along with over 17,000 others, have signed up on Goodreads to publicize their work and find fans. The new technology will make it more likely that readers will see sponsored books that they will enjoy.

Has anyone used Discovereads? How valuable do you think it will be to Goodreads members?

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