Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Can Algorithms Really Choose Books You’ll Love?


It can sometimes seem like a friendly employee at the local bookstore.

Yet, it’s only information from your past purchases (and, sometimes, other personal info) passed through some mathematical formulas…

Still, even if you “like” the books selected for you with algorithms, do you “love” them?

Are they “perfect” for you or just “adequate”?

Well, there’s a group of authors associated with a new service that lets you choose books that the algorithms “can’t see”…

The Guardian recently had the article, Book-choice App Alexi Aims to Free Readers from ‘Algorithm Rabbit Hole’.

Some of the authors involved are John Banville, Peter Carey, Ali Smith, John le Carré, and Bret Easton Ellis; and, in case you wonder who the other authors are, check out their Curator Page

For about $2.50 a week Alexi, “aims to help readers break out of their groups and find books that challenge and inform as well as entertain.”

Note this:

“The app, which was released as a beta in 2015, is currently optimised for iPhone and iPad, with an Android version coming in 2017.”

And, since I live in the United States, this (strangely) pleased me:

“Available to readers everywhere outside North America, which it hopes to include in 2017, its ‘handpicked mix’ includes novels, short stories, history, politics, poetry and reportage.”

One final excerpt for you:

“It may be unfashionable…to look to experts for opinions, but readers want to hear what experts have to say. And authors are some of the most expert people out there…”

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9 responses to “Can Algorithms Really Choose Books You’ll Love?

  1. The Story Reading Ape December 14, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Let Alexander know what you think of this, by commenting under his original blog post 😃

    Like

  2. Sue Vincent December 14, 2016 at 11:23 am

    I’d agree there has been “deep engagement with the shallow” for a while. I never buy the recommended books anyway. I prefer to choose my own…and my tastes are eclectic.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai December 14, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Well, Sue, you sound like me; and, you might want to try the app Alexi—or, you may not even like their recommendations :-)

      Like

      • Sue Vincent December 14, 2016 at 11:48 am

        With the pile of books I already want to read, beng added to daily , I’ll give it a miss :)

        Like

        • Alexander M Zoltai December 14, 2016 at 12:16 pm

          :-)

          Like

  3. Lindsey Russell December 14, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    $2.50!!!!!!!!!!!!!! a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s roughly £2.00. That’s half a book!!!!!!!!!!. I’m with Sue, have people become so shallow they need an app to tell them what to read? There’ll be an app telling us which way to vote next.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai December 14, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      Well, Lindsey, I certainly understand what you’re saying—I wouldn’t use the service myself—I merely show things to folks; but, I’m sure there are a few people who would love it :-)

      Like

  4. Audrey Driscoll December 14, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    With all the indie author books I’m reading these days, recommendations are the last thing I need. And somehow I suspect indies would never be represented in that service.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai December 14, 2016 at 11:21 pm

      Yes, Audrey, I can imagine Alexi doesn’t have many or any Indies…

      Liked by 1 person

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