Barnes and Noble is trying to compete against GoodReads with their own ebook discovery and social media network called Browsery. B&N is billing it as “your ultimate destination for book conversation and discovery. Connect with fellow readers with the tap of a button.” The app has been released to beta testers today for Android (4.1 and up) and iOS.
In an email to beta testers B&N briefly explained that Browsery a crowd-powered book recommendations platform to help readers find a book or discover something unexpected. Each day Barnes and Noble asks a series of questions that people respond to, the question today was “What’s your favorite book about books?” The most popular answers such as the Book Thief, Pale Fire by Nabokov and others are listed, users can click on the title to find out what people have said about it. The conversations around the books are not reviews, it is merely buzz, often one paragraph at the most. Users can also pose questions, so it looks like the app is primarily user based and B&N is just trying to stimulate some initial conversations.
The essence of Browsery is being able to easily discover new books, that people are actually talking about. Instead of just listing on a genre by genre basis all of the new titles that have come out or are due out soon, the data is populated by user searches, conversations and how many questions are being asked about a specific title.
Browsery is not an e-reading app or a replacement for Nook for Android or Nook for IOS. It is a social network about books and ebook discovery. Right now it is only about books, there is no data about audiobooks, although this might change. Barnes and Noble will send all of the beta testers a survey in a week and ask what changes they should make to the app. Browsery is only available for US customers to test and is not available to download outside the US, since it is geolocked.
The current beta test is at capacity but you can keep track of when the next phase opens next week HERE.
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 CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.