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Book recommendation services help users find the perfect read

Buying a bad book is a bummer. Gifting a book — only to discover the recipient is uninterested — is an even bigger bummer.
Avoid the letdown this holiday season by using one of these online book-recommendation services.

Over the last year, book-related social networking sites have cropped up all over the web to help readers find the perfect books to fit their tastes.

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Jason Fitzpatrick at LifeHacker recently wrote an overview of five popular online book recommendation services — including GoodReads, Shelfari, LibraryThing and GetGlue.

Here’s a quick glance at three top-notch sites:

GoodReads “Listopia” is a valuable tool; instead of getting lists of questionable quality by a single person, users receive lists compiled from the input of thousands upon thousands of readers.

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LibraryThing requires membership to take full advantage of its massive catalog of millions of books and the tastes of their owners. Users enter their favorite books to build a personal library and LibraryThing takes the information and generates “combined recommendation” lists that are usually spot-on.

GetGlue is a large network of people reviewing and ranking everything from books to music. GetGlue requires registration, but it’s worth it if you’re a serious book lover. Site users rank books with a simple like/dislike toggle and GetGlue compares the “likes” to other users in the network, returning a battery of book suggestions which can again be “liked/disliked” to further refine the process.

For full details on these and other book recommendation services, read Fitzpatrick’s post at LifeHacker.

The newcomer
The latest service to help you with your holiday shopping is Scholastic’s newly-launched social networking site, You Are What You Read.

The site — which can be accessed via Facebook or a Scholastic account — lets users build a profile based on the five most influencial books in their lives. (Users can “favorite” additional books.) Readers can then find other people with shared literary interests, or “Bookprints.”  

According to Publisher’s Weekly, Scholastic books don’t appear to get special billing on You Are What You Read, and nearly every book in print from any publisher is available to catalog on profiles.

Features include an interactive web that shows how users’ Bookprints are connected and a tool for comparing your Bookprint with those of participating celebrities — “Names You Know” — to discover any book selections held in common.

Read more about You Are What You Read at Publisher’s Weekly

Where do you get book suggestions for yourself and those on your holiday gift list? Tell us in the comment section below.