Amazon Book Clubs is a new platform that is in early access. People can join public groups, that focus on specific genres, such as mysteries, romance or science-fiction. Book Clubs can be private and invite only, or public. Each of clubs, has little blurb on the focus, as well as their number one recommendation. Clicking on the recommendation takes you to the Amazon listing. I think this is an interesting new system, that should have plenty of new features, before it officially launches.
I just joined the Unforgettable Reads Club, which is public and applications are automatically approved. It lists the administrator of the group, which is currently Amazon Book Reviews, and has around 2600 members. You can view members whose profiles are set to public, but the vast majority are private. I can add a book to the list, or invite an Amazon member to join. Books float to the top, the more members click on the suggest button, so popular books people have read, tend to be easily discoverable. Each title actually provides a numerical value, on many people clicked on the suggest button, so it is transparent.
Amazon Book Clubs landing page allows you to search for a book club, start a book club, or configure settings. I like the ability to start a page, and have my friends upload books they are currently reading or recommending. Amazon also sends you an email when you join the first club, letting you know about some of the key features. It is a simpler and more elegant system than GoodReads, which has so many different features, that it mind boggling.
Amazon also provides a new Book Club Picks section on their main website, which takes all of the books that people have clicked on suggest from all of the various clubs, and puts them on a main Amazon webpage, that gives you a rundown of what everyone is reading. There is a main unified list, of all clubs, but you can also focus on a particular genre. This is a neat way to discover new and interesting books, that are not really on the traditional Amazon bestseller lists.
Amazon Book Clubs are fairly barebones right now. There is no chatting or messaging feature, it is basically a list of recommended books, where the top books that are voted on, float to the top, nice and organic. It remains to be seen when this service will ditch the early access flag and open for business and what new features will be implemented in the future.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.