News just in from Scribd. The new service discussed below is now live for Scribd’s ebook subscribers. It will be available on Scribd’s mobile apps in the next few weeks.
We will not be the least bit surprised to see Amazon and Oyster also release reimagined browsing tools. Additionally, with the recent acquisition of BookLamp by Apple it will be interesting to see what they develop for iTunes Bookstore.
From Scribd’s Announcement:
Scribd’s new browse experience brings the familiar elements of browsing a neighborhood bookstore [hey, what about the public library?] into the digital realm, from personalized staff picks, to shelves for every category and special interest niche imaginable.
“Our goal with the new browse experience was to retain the same human touch that we have come to love about personal recommendations from a trusted friend, but use the power of technology to extend it to our catalog of over 500,000 books,” said Jared Friedman, co-founder and CTO of Scribd. “The result is as if we’ve built every reader their own personalized bookstore, [we would have preferred library but you can’t always get what you want] with the human touch readers love, that they are now able to carry around in their back pocket.”
The foundation of the new browse experience is a proprietary category structure that allows readers to browse both at a high level, like Fiction & Literature, and a very niche level, like Biographies of Outlaws. Instead of using BISAC, a dated cataloging system, Scribd’s category tree was designed from the ground up to best facilitate book discovery.
To take organization to the next level, Scribd’s in-house editorial team curated tens of thousands of detailed tags about books, identifying their subjects, locations, time periods, and aesthetic qualities.
Using this rich dataset, Scribd created unique collections of books tailored to specific tastes, such as “Arthurian Legends” or “Private Eye Mysteries Set In LA”. These niche collections are then served up to readers based on their interests and reading activity. For example, if a reader has read a mystery thriller and a travel book about Scandinavia, Scribd might suggest the collection “Nordic Noir”, a curated list of 21 Scandinavian crime novels.
Key Components of New “Personalized” Service
- New look, feel, and voice – More than rows of books, the browse experience guides readers through the entire Scribd library with personal notes from Scribd’s editorial team and a rich visual experience complete with custom graphics.
- Topical Collections – Browse goes beyond simple categories with thousands of unique, all-new proprietary collections based on the subjects, location, time period, and aesthetic qualities of books.
- Scribd Selects – Handpicked favorites from the Scribd editorial staff in every genre complete with personal blurbs.
- Guest Curated Collections – Readers can explore various collections recommended by acclaimed authors, such as top sports books curated by Juliet Macur and romance reads curated by Maya Rodale.
- Algorithmic Recommendations – Scribd’s powerful recommendation engine offers recommendations personalized picks for the reader that update dynamically as they browse through genres. Niche collections are surfaced only to the right readers.
Top Books and Authors– Readers can browse the top books on Scribd in one place: from what’s trending among Scribd readers to New York Times bestsellers to award-winners in every genre.
1. We’ve asked Scribd if they have any plans to work with the library community to guest curate collections.
2. Re: BISAC Subject Codes (the organizational system used by the book industry including many bookstores and a few libraries) . Worth noting is the fact that THEMA is a new organizational system that is being adopted for global use. There are also tools to map BISAC into THEMA.