Close-up of a young girl's hands. She's holding an open book in her lap.
Reading and BookLamp recommendations go together. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Karoly Czifra/Flickr)

A new online service called BookLamp – billed as “Pandora for books” – is poised to change the way bookworms decide what to read. According to Mashable, readers can get straight to user-generated reviews and avoid marketing copy. More importantly, offers an advanced matching algorithm that can lead to worthwhile new reading discoveries.

Breaking the Book DNA code

BookLamp’s recommendation engine scans the texts of all works contributed by partner publishers. It tracks, measures and studies a wide range of elements that make up a book – 32,160 elements, to be exact. Such elements as setting and characters make up what calls “Story DNA.” An overall chain of Story DNA is then extrapolated into a profile of the book, or its “Book DNA.”

Other online book classification engines exist, but they’ve been much more dependent upon user input that BookLamp, says Aaron Stanton, the site’s founder.’s sophisticated algorithms are able to do a significant amount of the work independently. Once Book DNA is established for a work, it can be matched against BookLamp user reading records so that the suggestion engine can work its magic.

“The analogy I use the most is that if you’ve eaten a chocolate cake and you wanted to find other cake that tasted the same, you’d need to know not just the ingredients, but the percentage and the preparation,” said Stanton. “From that perspective, thematic ingredients balance the book, and the writing style is the preparation: How is language prepared to deliver that storyline to the reader?”

BookLamp helps publishers has the suggestion algorithms and useful user commentary to reshape the book reading experience on the consumer level, but it also helps book publishing outlets. BookLamp data can help publishers refine their targeting and marketing strategies, even to individual consumers. Knowing what they’ve read and what they’re most likely to read moving forward is golden information for book publishers.

As BookLamp expands its database of Book DNA-enabled titles – it currently has more than 20,000 books indexed in the recommendation engine – the face of reading via e-reader software and devices like the Kindle will never be the same.

Matthew Jockers of on R&D


Book Lamp beta:



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