Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer
How To

How To Use Social Media for Better Book Recommendations

Jessica Woodbury

Staff Writer

Jessica Woodbury's professional life has taken her to prisons, classrooms, strip clubs, and her living room couch. After years as a Public Defender in the South, she now lives in Boston with her two small children. Cursed with a practical streak, she always wanted to pursue music or writing but instead majored in Biochemistry because it seemed like the appropriate thing to do. These days she does absolutely nothing with science or law and instead spends too much time oversharing on the internet. She has a soft spot for crime novels and unreliable narrators. And the strip club gig was totally as a lawyer, she swears.  Blog: Don't Mind the Mess Twitter: jessicaesquire

In the height of summer reading season, everyone is looking for the next hot book to read. And they’re all on Facebook asking what they should get next. If you’ve tried this route you may have noticed that you get all kinds of titles shouted at you from the peanut gallery with little rhyme or reason. It’s pretty likely you won’t have any better of an idea of what to read when you’re done than you did when you started. Or you may find yourself with a list of books that don’t interest you at all. Not everyone likes the same books, and throwing your request blindly into the universe isn’t the best way to find your next favorite read.

Crowdsource better. Here’s how.

1) Be specific about what kind of genre or tone you’d like.

Want something light or something heavy? Funny or dark? Fantasy, chick lit, sci-fi, mystery? Just a few little details about what your favorite kind of book is or just what you’re in the mood for right now will give your friends a clue about what titles fit the bill. It may also remind them of something they wouldn’t have thought of without the extra requests.

2) Name 2 or 3 books you’ve loved recently.

People who also loved those books, whose tastes may align with yours, are more likely to speak up with other stuff they’ve loved. Even if all they do is say, “I loved that book, too!” comment back and ask for more of their favorites.

3) Use lists.

The Listopia section at Goodreads gives you a ridiculously large number of book lists to use. Want a book in a particular genre? Go explore lists in that genre or books with that tag. If you enjoyed a specific book and want more like it, use the Lists With This Book tab on that book’s Goodreads page to see what other people group with it. And if someone’s built an amazing list you love, check out their other lists and consider sending them a friend request.

4) Make friends

When someone gives you a recommendation that ends up being a winner, don’t forget it. If you seek out books on Facebook, build a Friend list of other book lovers. On Twitter, you can set up a Twitter list of readers. If there are book bloggers and reviewers you love, add them to your RSS reader or sign up for their email newsletter. And, of course, when you find someone who has great taste you can follow them on Goodreads.

5) Build Community

Why stop at lists? Readers love talking to other readers, so make it easier. Set up a Facebook group where people can talk about what they’re reading and ask for recommendations. Goodreads also lets you set up groups. Choose a group hashtag you can track on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The 21st century book club doesn’t have to have in-person meetings. You can have a website, a Google hangout, an online forum, the possibilities are endless.

What other ways are you using social media to find out about great books to read?



Expand your literary horizons with New Books!, a weekly newsletter spotlighting 3-5 exciting new releases, hand-picked by our very own Liberty Hardy. Sign up now!