India Uncut

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

On Starbucks and other filters

Regular reader and tipster Vimalanand Prabhu writes in, regarding this post:
I agree with your assessment that non-regular readers need some guidance. There are a few in the US that are cashing in on this opportunity. Starbucks is a coffee shop, but it is now also in the business of recommending CDs/ Movies and Books to its "core customers — educated, with an average age of 42 and an average income of $90,000". And is doing a pretty decent job of it.
Actually, filters abound: book clubs have been around for ages, the book pages of newspapers and magazines do the job -- even if the space for them is shrinking -- and new ways of navigating the literary choices before us are constantly evolving. That said, there's tremendous scope for building a Pandora for books, something that goes beyond Amazon's innovative filters. Perhaps it's time to get busy...

(Hindu link via Peter.)

Update: Ken Falco writes in to point me to a resource of book recommendation engines.

And Peter writes in to point me to Debbie'sIdea and gnod. The first has a clumsy interface, and as for the second, I test-drive it. It asks me to name three writers I like. I feed in the names of Milan Kundera, Italo Calvino and Vikram Seth. First it suggests that I read Rohinton Mistry. And then it suggests Arundhati Roy. This is preposterous, for Roy shares nothing with the three of them, unless her being Indian, like Seth, is a factor. That's not how I want my books recommended to me. I surf away.
amit varma, 2:17 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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