There is a website called Recommend Me a Book that helps you if you are in the habit of judging a book by its cover and consequently, end up not reading it. Does it matter what sort of cover a book has or does the cover of a book have an impact on whether you decide to read a book or not? It may or may not. It depends on what you know about the book or the author in advance. If you are already looking for a particular book and you know the gist of the story, then maybe you’re not swayed by the cover. But if you’re just browsing a catalogue you may become biased when you look at the cover of the book.
Recommend Me a Book, as the title suggests, is a website that recommends you a book to read. It’s not a book review website and it doesn’t even have the ubiquitous rating system or the reader’s board like Goodreads.
When it recommends the book, it neither shows you the book cover nor the name of the author. In fact, it doesn’t “recommend” the book in the conventional sense. The website homepage just presents you with the initial text of the book. Straight ahead you start reading the first chapter of the book (when I randomly read, all were the first chapters). As I have already written, you don’t know the name of the author, you don’t know the title of the book and you haven’t yet seen the cover of the book. Based on the first chapter that you read, you can decide whether you want to read the rest of the book or not (as a writer this reminds you how important the first chapter is).
The website has been developed by Givi Phirtskhalava and he is using affiliate links so that he can make some money off the website. He is also offering two plays the books of writers and authors on the website. The Add Your Book section tells you how much he charges for placing a book on his website.
It isn’t exactly clear yet how he selects books and you may need lots of time to decide which book you would like to read because you are not in control of what you are reading. The chapters are shown to you one by one and you move on to the next chapter from the next book by clicking on the Next link. It may seem tedious to a slightly impatient person but the entire idea of the website is that you should take some time reading the chapters and then deciding whether you want to read the book or not.
This is a unique, innovative concept and I think if managed well, it can be turned into a good website with lots of authors wanting to promote their books on it. Maybe Givi can also have an app, something like Blinklist and charge a very minimal amount for regularly sending new chapters. A little bit of social interaction can be added: people can be encouraged to guess the title of the book by reading the first chapter, or more such things.
Again, the basic idea is to take you beyond the cover of the book. It turns the concept of randomly choosing a book upside down. You normally choose a book by picking up off the shelf of a bookshop and when you pick it up, you normally pick it up after seeing the title and then the cover – mostly the title because we process information visually. If you don’t like the cover, you put the book back no matter how great the book might be. For example, I have always found the book cover of The Great Gatsby confounding. It doesn’t at all tell you anything about the book. Anyway, have a look at the website and if you love literature, you will find it enchanting.