Posted on 19 January, 2009 By 46 Comments

4 Sites to Help You Decide What Book to Read Next


tower of books and a man interested (by zen)

I love to read and average about a book per week. Well, honestly I didn’t come close to that last year but most years I read 50-70 books. I’ve been keeping track of every book I’ve read since 1991 – I wish I had started that when I learned how to read. I don’t have a fancy database or anything but just a list of author/title in a notebook. Maybe someday I will digitize it.

I don’t usually have a hard time deciding what to read next because I have a teetering pile next to my bed. Actually, I have piles all over the house. But sometimes I read something that I really love and want to find a similar book. So, here I have listed 4 sites that might help you pick the next book you are going to read.


Whichbook – Whichbook allows you to discover books based on your mood. I selected happy, funny, unusual and unpredictable. The first match was Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson. I’ve actually read that book and can say that it does meet the criteria. Whichbook allows you to switch the search and discover books based on character, plot and setting. It has a link called “Borrow”, which provides links to the library system in the UK. It would be nice if there were also links to Amazon and other book sites, but it’s great for UK users.


What Should I Read Next – Type in an author and title of a book that you like and this site will provide you with a list of books that you might like. This is based on registered user’s reading lists – other books on the same reading list as your search will be displayed. The results assume that you have similar taste to reader’s who have read the same book so it is not exactly finding similar books. You can register with the site to create your own book lists and the site says that you will get better results if you are a registered user. This site does provide links to Amazon UK and Amazon US so you can get additional information about the book and order it, if you want to buy it.


Lazy Library – Search on any topic and you will be presented with a list of books. What makes this search recommendation “lazy” is not that no book on the list is over 200 pages. Personally, I don’t judge a book by it’s length (anyone else read Neal Stephenson, whew) but this a good way to locate a book that will give you a quick overview on a topic. Due to the page limit, it also seems to return a number of children’s books.


LibraryThing – This site is best known for cataloging your books. Unfortunately, you can only catalog 200 for free. You can also register for an account, search for books, and then use the recommendation feature to find similar books. Recommendations include ones from LibraryThing and ones from other readers. It took a bit of searching to find out how the recommendations work but it is based on library of congress categories and what similar readers also have in their book lists. One problem is that it finds other books by the same author – you would assume that if you like one book by an author that you have already looked at others so it’s better to have recommendations select something completely different. LibraryThing also includes links to Abebooks, Alibris,, Barnes & Noble,, BookSense, and Worldcat.

photo credit: zen

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46 Responses to “4 Sites to Help You Decide What Book to Read Next”

  • Wrong person here :lol: I lost the habit of reading books long back. I still reader news papers…

    The online life has had an adverse impact on lifestyle. No writing and reading… I cant even sign my checks properly these days :(

  • well i don’t read that much either. but that is because i am a very difficult reader. what i get into my hands has to be significantly interesting so i will keep on reading. i think these websites will be really useful! thanks Kim!

    stratosg´s last blog post – FunnyInbox: How about a nice laugh?

  • Wow. You really read a lot… I usually get through about 5-10 books a year, the majority of which are programming or tech related books… :-) I rarely just read for ‘fun’. So these sites, while interesting, probably wouldn’t affect my book-reading behavior. :-/

    Where do you find the time?!

    Shirley´s last blog post – Choosing the Best Location for Your New Blog

  • This is a great idea. Normally I have about five books lined up, but this will be good for finding new ones. Thanks for the links!

    Jim´s last blog post – He Blogs, She Blogs…the Sixth

  • Thanks for putting this list together. I’m another with a huge book backlog, but I figure this might help me finding books for friends – if I know what they have read recently and liked, this could help me out with finding books for birthday and Christmas gifts.

    (And then I can borrow the book…snicker)

    Tracy´s last blog post – How to explain that you’ve locked down your Facebook

  • Thanks, Kim! Awesome idea for an article!

    I will definitely be checking these out. :-)

    Jim´s last blog post – Shuffle Karma

  • I wish I could say I’m back to reading books, but I’m still focused on my online writing/ reading too much. :(

    Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post – Breaking: Cosmo Magazine To Change Its Name

  • I’ve got a stack of a dozen or so books to not only read, but review! Please don’t offer suggestions for more, my eyeballs will burst ;-)

  • well i’m saying thank you because i still love to read books. great find kim. i’m reading about 5 books right now at the same time which is a little crazy.

    Natural´s last blog post – Fat and Happy?

  • @Ajith – The longer I use a keyboard the harder it is to write. Did you enjoy reading before?

    @Stratos – Do you mean you are really fussy about what you read? Me? I’ll read almost anything.

    @Shirley – Well, I used to read a lot. Last year it was only 11 books. And I’m not reading things like War and Peace. I like Science Fiction, the environment, biographies and regular fiction. I try to make myself stop using the computer by 10pm and then I read until I fall asleep – sometimes that’s 2 hours and sometimes it’s 10 minutes. I also don’t watch television so I have extra time there.

    @Jim – I always have plenty to read too. But sometimes I really love a book and want to read something similar – some of these sites might help.

    @Tracy – LOL And that’s a great idea – using the sites to find gifts for people. I was only thinking of myself.

    @Jim – Thanks!

    @Vered – I discovered that I wasn’t reading books either when I counted up my total for 2008. I’m making more of an effort to find time for reading and getting away from the computer.

    @David – Well, science doesn’t count ;-) Just kidding. You should see the stacks in my house – and this is just for “fun”.

    @Natural – I read a couple of books at a time too. I like to have something for different moods. At minimal I’m reading one fiction and one non-fiction.

  • Kim – what a fabulous idea for a blog post! I was just getting ready to send off an order to Amazon, but will now have to wait until I check out some of your handy sites. :-)

    mark_hayward´s last blog post – Response to the question: Can Social Media Save Local Business?

  • Kim-

    I’ve never been a big reader, damn english teachers forcing books on us. Regardless, it’s pretty cool that sites like this exist, who knows, maybe I’ll get back into it.

    Jason´s last blog post – Barack Obama is Not Your Messiah

  • @Mark – Hi! I was going to suggest you check the library before ordering the books and then remembered where you live ;-)

    @Jason – Teachers can ruin reading – forcing kids to read Great Expectations is not going to give them a love of reading. There are a ton of cool books out there though. What are you interested in? Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is a book that everyone who reads loves, even people who say they don’t like science fiction.

  • nice find Kim. I am an avid reader myself. It will help me discover some new authors

    Madhur Kapoor´s last blog post – Manage System Security with ATool

  • @Madhur – Great! I didn’t know you liked to read – what kind of books are your favorites?

  • I’m in the camp of already having a huge stack of books waiting to be read or partly read waiting to be completed. Those some interesting sites though. It’ took awhile before decent recommendation sites developed. There were a few, but there has been a step forward with Web 2.0

    Gennaro´s last blog post – 8 Presidential Inauguration Locations To Visit

  • Nope, I was never a good reader… well, I used to read school/college books and some comic/cartoon stuff alone. And after getting into career mode perhaps a few technical books and soft skills development stuff.

    In my whole life I would have read hardly 20-25 fictions or short stories :lol:

    However, there’s another reason behind… I used to read some stuff in my mother tongue till I was 20 or so… but since then the medium changed to English :) Pro’lly that’s when it became read-only-bare-minimum policy

  • These are some great sites… I especially like the one for selecting books by mood. My book selection has been limited to audiobooks as of late, since they make the workday fly by. I got through the entire Twilight series, on and off, in two weeks that way.

    ~ Kristi

    Kikolani | Poetry, Photography, Blogging´s last blog post – What Do I Want

  • What Should I Read Next looks really interesting. I am a slow reader becaues I daydream a lot while reading but I hope to read at least two books a month this year.

  • @Gennaro – There are just way too many good books out there. Unfortunately not enough about time travel in dystopian settings.

    @Ajith – Changing the language you read in must be hard. I can read a bit in Spanish but it’s too much trouble for me to enjoy it.

    @Kristi – I’ve never got into Audiobooks. I wouldn’t be able to listen to them at work and I don’t have a long commute. I know a lot of people really enjoy them.

    @Carla – Two books a month is an awesome goal.

  • In addition to your article, maybe you should consider the 5th sites to help you decide what books to read next:
    Book recommendations from famous people

  • @Garner – Thank you for the link – that looks like another good resource to help discover new books. Are you going to be adding more famous people to the list?

  • I basically prefer Thriller novels and fictions. Favorite writers include Jeffrey Archer, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy etc. What about you ?

    Madhur Kapoor´s last blog post – Cobian Backup – Multithreaded Backup Application

  • @Madhur – I will read almost anything. I tend to lean toward Science Fiction and non-fiction.

  • Nice selection.
    I have recently posted a similar article on my blog, about contemporary authors and how to find a next one to read.

    I find interesting idea to chose your next reading by selecting an author rather then just watching a best-seller lists.

    Writing Forums Chap´s last blog post – Gay and Lesbian Characters in Fiction

  • Thanks for reviving this post so I could find it! I never have a stack of unread books because I read faster than I can find books that appeal to me. I’m off to find some now. Have you tried It’s a free book swapping service — you build up credits by offering your books to others, then get books free using your credits. I love it.

    Dot´s last blog post – Childhood Memories

    • Hi Dot – Great! I’m so glad you find it useful.

      I buy a lot of books at flea markets, thrift stores and library sales and rarely pay more than $1 for a hardback. That’s how my books have piled up. Plus I used to average 50-70 books per year and last year I only read 13. I’m not doing much better this year but am trying.

      What do you like to read?

      I’ve heard of Bookmooch but haven’t tried it – I use something similar to trade videogames.

  • awesome post for readers Kim – I like it, but I never got referred to it on SU

    Glad I discovered it today.
    I lost my google reader page again! so am glad to be getting back to everyone’s site today.

    I love to read…I love my Kindle 2
    It reads to me while I am cooking and dusting etc…

    Patricia´s last blog post – Summer Reading: Breakfast with Buddha ~Roland Merullo

    • Hi Patricia – Thanks!

      I love actual books so I’m not sure if I would like the kindle or not. If I traveled more, I think I would want one because then I wouldn’t need to carry so many books with me.

  • Another useful site is Ninja Picks – it uses data from amazon to find books similar to something you’ve already read, but presents it in a way that makes it faster and easier than digging through amazon, or building a collection of preferences like other sites do.
    .-= sparx´s last blog ..McDonald’s Bacon and Cheese Angus Third Pounder =-.

  • Alas, I’m one of those who has been ruined by the net as well. I still average about three quarters of a book a week, but that’s a big drop from my one a day era. I never have any problem finding a book I want to read; it’s finding the time (and turning off the damned computer) to do so.

    • Hi Mark – I’ve been doing better lately. I’ve read 7 books since the beginning of July. I’ve been spending most of my time after 8pm reading. I used to read 1-2 books per week but I seem to be going through phases.

  • Four great sites, normally i would just rely upon word of mouth and the usual sat book club meeting, but im definitely getting into what should i read next, great if your into a specific genre.
    .-= Confused?´s last blog ..The art of Thrifting…. =-.

    • Hi Confused – I have so many unread books that I don’t have a problem deciding what to read next – the problem is finding time to read. But the sites provide interesting and entertaining results.

  • I used to rely mainly on friends reviews and suggestions but I found a new website recently which has helped me called bookwhack. The recommendations are a bit more diverse than I have found elsewhere. Hope you like the suggestion

    • Hi Duke – Thanks for the recommendation. I searched for a couple of my favorite books and there weren’t any recommendations – it wanted me to add some. So, I guess the site is still fairly new and is depending on recommendations from users.

      Still, it looks like a good start and it has a slick and simple interface.

  • These are great tools. Recommendation engines can be so hit or miss sometimes! I’ve always just relied on asking friends… Thanks for posting this!

  • Check – we are doing our best to give the best book recommendations!

  • Great article. My AP English teacher had us start a reading list my senior year of high school and I have kept it up. Over 800 now 20 years later. I’ve been setting goals the last 2 years and am edging at 70 per year. It really comes in handy to look back on it and for all those pesky series!
    I’ve started using Shelfari in the last few years to connect with people and their shelf is nice of what you want to read and what you’ve read.

  • is cool. It contains hundreds of books (and seems to be rapidly growing). The books are accompanied by a 100-word snippet so you can easily search and find lots of great books.

  • I’m working on a site – to help people find any book imaginable. It is a work in progress but please check it out, I can use the testing :D. Right now it’s useful only if you know the title of the book but in the near future It’ll allow for advanced keyword searches to find books you cannot remember the name of.

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