In March, Barnes & Noble launched Browsery, an app designed to help readers find new titles with the help of a community of book-lovers who can't stop talking about their favorite books. A fun and interactive way to build your To Be Read pile, Browsery is free to download, free to use, and available now on the App Store and Google Play.
No matter how much you love reading or how open minded you are to literature's many genres, it isn't always easy to find the right book to satisfy your wants and needs, ever-changing as they are. Sometimes, you're in the mood to curl up with a sappy love story and cry; other times, you're craving a juicy mystery with a kick-ass heroine who can inspire you. Enter Barnes & Noble's Browsery. Designed in a question-and-answer like format, this new app makes finding specific, and even obscure, book recommendations as easy as clicking a few buttons.
I tested Browsery out myself, and here's how it works: users download the app on their smart device, and create a free profile that is customized to fit their personal reading interests. From there, they can browse recent recommendations within their favorite genres, suggest books to other users who are looking for advice, or ask for their own recommendations and wait for other readers to respond with suggestions and reasons why. Users can also create reading lists to keep track of suggestions and discoveries, as well as connect directly with the Barnes & Nobles website to sample and purchase books.
While there are a lot of other book finding tools and websites that can help readers discover titles that might interest them, Browsery makes it possible to uncover truly surprising reads. On the app, users will come across plenty of general interest questions like, "What book are you reading now that you love?" and "What is the saddest book you've ever read?" But more often, they will stumble upon more specific and surprising inquiries including, "For which authors have you recommended almost all of their books?" and "If you had unlimited copies of one book to give to every person you see, which book would it be?" Browsery community members not only suggest titles, but offer explanations for why they did, and their reasons offer fascinating insight into the minds of readers. While browsing for book suggestions, users just might also discover why the The Fault in Our Stars is so many readers go-to tear-jerker, or the reason so many book-lovers hate the phrase "strong female character."
Unlike other book finding tools, Browsery creates an feeling of an almost instant interactive community. After creating my own account and browsing through existing questions and answers, I posed my own. Within five minutes, I already had my first book suggestion from a community member. In under a half hour, I had four. While it isn't as immediate as asking a bookseller for a reading suggestion at the store, it comes pretty close. Not to mention, each suggestion feels personal. Unlike other websites that use your data to predict books that may interest you, Browsery is based on real readers' interests and suggestions.
A fun and unique way to discover new book suggestions, Browsery is perfect for bibliophiles who know what kind of reading mood they're in, but not what book matches it. It's also a great tool for book-lovers who want to engage more in the community, share their love of reading, and have more conversations about their favorite titles and authors. While the app isn't perfect — it doesn't have any kind of tracking feature, and there can be some repetition in the questions posed — it is a must-have for voracious readers who love talking about and discovering new books.
No app will ever match the experience of asking bookseller in person for help discovering your new favorite book, but this is a wonderful tool for people who can't make it to a bookstore, for whatever reason. The app is available now on the App Store and Google Play.