Finding the perfect book is magic. That book that channels your exact literary mood, that answers the questions you didn’t know how to put into words. What makes a book the right book is an alchemy of genre, season, tone, and vibes vibes vibes. Drury had that magic in mind when he said libraries should strive “to provide the right book to the right reader at the right time,” or Lee Shippey when he said, “The right book at the right time, may mean more in a person’s life than anything else.” Somewhere, in the shelves of your local library, or the “New Releases” table at the indie bookstore, or among the bright shiny cover photos on social media, is the book that will satisfy your literary itch. So how to find that perfect book? Thanks to the bookish internet, there are plenty of book recommendation apps and websites to guide you to the just right choice.
Just like books themselves, there are book recommendation apps and services for every reader style. Prefer the old-fashioned hand-sell? We have our very own TBR for that. Looking for an algorithm to turn to your literary tastes into data points? There’s the StoryGraph. Or how about book recs based on reader personality? Bookfinity might be just what you need. Here are eight book recommendation apps and services to help you find that perfect book you didn’t know you needed. Happy hunting!
Ok, TBR is not an app. It is however, a fast and easy way to connect with a professional bibliophile who will handpick books for you based on your tastes and favorite authors. Vast bookish knowledge plus an element of surprise equals book bliss. You’re welcome.
One of the newer services, Tertulia culls news, Twitter and podcasts for recent book mentions. Users can link their Twitter profiles to see what books people they follow have been tweeting about, or just see what cultural critics, famous writers, and journalists recommend. The interface is slick and the app is an interesting way to track the latest book buzz.
StoryGraph gets that the perfect next read is more of a vibe. It asks “What are you in the mood for?” and recommends books based on however many moods you tagged, based on the pace, length and genre of book you select. Mysterious and reflective? StoryGraph has recommendations for that!
BookyCall is a fun app that gives each book a dating app–esque profile that answers questions like “Who should swipe right on me?” and “What are my most attractive traits?” For example, Outlawed by Anna North describes itself as “I attract the courageous and determined type. I want to spend time with someone who isn’t afraid to fight for their beliefs, someone who isn’t afraid to get down and dirty.” If you do swipe right, the book will message you with links to buy at places like Bookshop, Amazon and Libro.fm.
The Amazon-backed juggernaut does it all. It can recommend your next read based on books you’ve shelved under “to read” “raves” or “tea and crumpets” (yes, that’s a shelf of mine). Goodreads also links books “readers also enjoyed” on every book’s page so you can find books in a similar vein. For a personal touch, you can also recommend books you’ve loved to your friends.
Likewise builds off the books you like to create a taste profile. Pick ten books that you loved and it’ll offer suggestions for similar books you may enjoy in a swipe-style spread. Users can also ask the community for very specific recommendations like “Enemies to lovers set in bakeries.” If you’re a fan of the platform, you can also use it to get recs for television and movies.
Created by book distributor Ingram, this is only a website for now. It offers book recommendations based on a user’s “reading personality.” Based on a quick quiz, I’m categorized as a “Time traveler,” with a little bit of “Serial Reader” thrown in. If those results mean I like historical fiction and crime, then correct. Bookfinity also makes recs based on mood, so users can search for books that users tag as “inspired” or “scared.”
Libby is the go to app for accessing ebooks and audiobooks through your public library. However, it also has hundreds of librarian-curated lists, like “You turn my pages: Romance featuring diverse characters and authors,” or “Found family” books. As a bonus, you can check them out straight from the list.
For more bookish apps to enhance your reading life, check out 15 Amazing Free Reading Apps to Take Your Books Everywhere.