Coming Soon: Personalized Book Recommendations

April 4, 2017 Book Recommendations 26

Personalized Book Recommendations

Click HERE to submit a recommendation request.

My regular readers might remember a few months back when I got introspective about where I wanted to take this blog (you can get a refresher here and here if you’re interested). I mentioned that I was planning to test run a small book recommendations project around Mother’s / Father’s Days.

Personalized book recommendations are what I was referring to.

After reading the book reviews and lists on my blog, people frequently reach out to me asking for a particular type of book recommendation. Which got me thinking about about book recommendation services…

There are many book recommendation services available at the moment:

  • Amazon and Goodreads use computer algorithms to tell you what you might enjoy based on what you’ve previously purchased (Amazon) and added to your various lists (Goodreads). 
  • Book of the Month Club allows members to choose from five curated selections each month and mails you a hardcover book (incidentally, this is a great service if you like reading hardcover books and aren’t looking for personalized recommendations).
  • Some independent bookstores (i.e. Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA) also have personalized recommendation services where they mail you either a hardcover or paperback of the book they recommend for you. 

But, I keep thinking, why aren’t there more book recommendation services…

  • For people who prefer to e-read or listen to audiobooks?
  • Where humans give you a recommendation based on your personal tastes? Like the internet version of your neighborhood independent bookseller?
  • That pair personalized book recommendations with the freedom to choose your format and retailer?

So, I’m excited to announce a test run for a personalized book recommendations service from Sarah’s Book Shelves!

It will be a limited (and free) trial for the Mother’s / Father’s Day holidays (mid-April through mid-June) to gauge interest and gather your valuable feedback (via a follow-up survey).


Bonus! If you participate in the Mother’s / Father’s Day trial, you will receive a special discount if you sign-up for the paid service when it officially launches.

How Will the Trial Work?

  • Click on the Get Personalized Book Recommendations option on the Sarah’s Book Shelves menu (this option isn’t there right now, I will add it when I launch in mid-April).
  • Complete a short questionnaire about the kind of recommendation you’re looking for, and whether it’s for you or a gift.
  • I will email you 2-3 book recommendations that fit your criteria within a few days.
  • If your recommendations are for a gift, I can 1) email them directly to you so you can purchase the book(s) in whatever format you prefer OR 2) I can email the recommendations directly to your gift recipient!
  • After you receive your recommendations, I will send you a brief survey to complete. Everyone who completes a survey will be entered to win a $15 gift certificate to Amazon (which will generally cover at least one e-book or paperback).

After the test run…

I’ll review the survey and hope to launch the paid service in one of the following formats:  

  • A simple personalized book recommendation service where you can either buy one-time recommendations or a monthly subscription.
  • A premium level of Sarah’s Book Shelves content with a monthly personalized book recommendation as its key element, in addition to a few other features.

I’d love your feedback on this new endeavor. Please feel free to leave a comment or email me directly at

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Coming soon: Personalized Book Recommendations!

26 Responses to “Coming Soon: Personalized Book Recommendations”

  1. Susie | Novel Visits

    I’ve been wondering what you’re new idea was. It’s really a great one! We do it so often anyway and really that’s one of the best things about having read a lot of books. I hope your service is a huge success and gets even more people reading. So fun!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Thank you so much! And I was trying to figure out how to make use of my 1000 book categorized spreadsheet!

  2. MarB

    This is a great idea! I’ve spent too many hours looking for books as gifts. (And whatever I pick out ends up feeling way too mainstream.) I’m signing up!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Thank you – thrilled to hear you’re going to try it out! And I always worry I’m too mainstream also! But I’m normally a little ahead of the non-blogger mainstream curve at least…from always having my nose in the book world.

  3. Madeline

    Sounds very interesting. Looking forward to participating in the pilot and checking it out.

    I’ve never thought the computer generated reccs were any good.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Thrilled to hear it! And I’ve had trouble with them too. Problem with Amazon’s are they’re based on your purchases, not whether or not you actually liked the book you purchased.

  4. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    Neat! There was this recommendation system from Riffle that I tried out in Beta, it seemed to be done by real people. It did give me some good ideas. Not sure if that still exists.

    Anyway, good luck with your idea!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Oooh – I’ll have to check that out! Never heard of it!

      Thank you!

  5. Dotty

    What a wonderful idea! I often spend more time choosing my next read than I do actually reading it. I am an avid reader and would love to participate in your pilot program. As a retired teacher, I now have more time to read and look forward to your blog every Monday,

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Thank you so much for your support! Thrilled to hear you’re going to give the recommendations a try. And I also spend an inordinate amount of time looking for my next book – haha!

  6. Tara

    I am super, super, super excited about this; I have always valued your recommendations and I may need to sign myself up – ha! 😉

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