ReadFeeder (clever name), a new startup based in Sydney, Australia, has launched with the goal of being a buzz meter for books that experts are passionate about.
The sites scours 450 “expert” blogs in various categories (I hope we’re one for the Tech Space!) to give you a list of books with buzz as opposed to just a pure bestseller list.
In some senses it’s similar to sites like online music chart We Are Hunted, except rather than tracking all social media and doing semantic analysis-based recommendations what ReadFeeder does is grab all the mentions from key blogs then collates credited and linked excerpts so the reader can find out what the expert bloggers are saying about the book at a glance.
In other words, it’s more of an expert opinion aggregation service than a pure social recommendation service – but I can see the value in that, particularly for things like books.
I spoke with Co-Founder Adriaan Stellingwerff about the origins of ReadFeeder:
We made the site because we found so many great books through the blogs we read – moreso than from newspapers or friends. It was interesting to watch Seth Godin’s Linchpin explode on ReadFeeder - 36 posts across 25 high profile blogs. Godin was the first author we know of who purposely bypassed traditional media and launched his book solely through blogs. It’s a trend we are looking to follow through ReadFeeder, along with the trend of people finding more and more of certain types of information through blogs over other media.
When asked about how the site is going, Stellingwerff added:
We aimed to get the site up and public asap (lean startup influence), which was around the end of last year. However it was the softest of soft launches where we haven’t publicised it at all.
People have found the site through organic search mainly, or through our tweets (@ReadFeeder auto tweets books that get blogged more than once, and by category also). Since the site has been live we’ve been bug fixing and tweaking performance to the point where we are starting to slowly let people know about the site in a more public way.
We’re currently tracking around 450 blogs, we’ve logged about 8000 book mentions over the past few months. We literally hand selected the blogs over time but also require them to meet some benchmark metrics to ensure their relevance.
People can suggest blogs here that they think are suitable, we’ll then just check their metrics and add them if they’re suitable to a category.”
I also asked Stellingwerff why they weren’t tracking Twitter/Facebook:
We thought about tracking Twitter/Facebook. At the moment we feel that choosing to read a book is a real investment of time and that you need a recommendation that is quite considered. We think this sort of consideration tends to come more through blog posts than status updates etc
There’s more to come from the team but for now they’re focussed on making the site as perfect as possible for book lovers everywhere, which makes sense with what will no doubt be a continued boom in book sales on the back of the Kindle, iPad and the rest of their eReader competition.