The best websites to discover new books

By Michael Kozlowski

Casual readers often face challenges when new books come out by authors they love. Sure you can visit the local bookstore every few weeks and check out what is new and notable.  Today we look at the best websites that focus on e-book discovery, finding a great new read or simply getting notified when a new book comes out. Some of these companies have been around for a decade, others have just come out in a the last few years. All of these sites are heavily endorsed by millions of readers who depend on them for their day to day reading needs.

Fictfact ÔÇô Designed to track books in series ÔÇô existing back lists, new additions, & your personal reading stats within each series.

FictionDB ÔÇô Complete book lists for over 250,000 authors and the service comprises of over 750,000 unique titles. They allow you to establish reading lists and search plots, synopses, time periods, dates, subgenres and much more.

Author Alerts ÔÇô This service allows you to establish authors you want to be notified about and then sends you a ping whenever a new title is released.

Library Thing ÔÇô Users add books to their catalog by entering titles, authors, or ISBN numbers. LibraryThing then searches the Library of Congress, all five national Amazon sites, and over 700 world libraries, and returns with precise book data. Users can then edit the books in their catalog, tag their books with their own subjects, and use the Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal systems to organize their collections.

Fantastic Fiction ÔÇô This service keeps track of all new book releases. It also has proper bibliographies for over 30,000 authors and information on over 350,000 books.

Shelfari ÔÇô This site launched in 2006 and was acquired by Amazon in 2008. It is one of the oldest and most respected book communities. Shelfari makes it incredibly simple to recommend books because the most valuable book recommendations come from your friends and people you trust. Great recommendations can also come from people with similar book collections, so Shelfari highlights these users and directs you to their shelves where you can discover what you have in common and books you might enjoy.

GoodReads ÔÇô Likely one of the largest social book communities where people follow authors they like and get notified when new books come out. The site staff also have excellent curated reading lists, so you can discover new authors. You can think of GoodReads as a large bookclub.

Leafmarks ÔÇô Leafmarks is a place where you can keep track of what youÔÇÖve read, review books, organize your books in shelves, express yourself openly and creatively, and engage in group discussions with other readers. Through challenges and ÔÇ£LeavesÔÇØ that you can unlock by reading and reviewing books, the site hopes to foster an even greater love of reading and inspire a new generation of readers to see it as something fun and rewarding. This is a new site, so its populated with tons of data yet.

Which Book:┬áThis website has a delightful new way of generating book suggestions. The site gives you a number of scales to use to determine what type of a book you are looking for. You can choose a set point between unpredictable and expected, beautiful or disgusting, conventional or unusual, optimistic or bleak and many more. Then, the site generates book suggestions that fit your request. Loads of fun to play with the different options and youÔÇÖre guaranteed a book that fits your mood perfectly.

Your Next Read: What attracted me most about Your Next Read was the visual layout. Enter a book youÔÇÖve enjoyed, and a graphic is created that connects it with other, related books. A lot of the recommendations I got were similar from what I saw elsewhere, but were for the most part books I was very interested in reading. My only caveat: the blurb about the book is just from Amazon, so it doesnÔÇÖt give much real information about the quality of the book.

The Staff Recommends: (this site is being revised) You know those little cards at bookstores and libraries that share staff picks? This site captures that idea by carefully choosing a handful of books to highlight at a time.  Each book has an awesome explanation on why it made the list. The site is simple and enticing, making it a pleasure to use unlike so many of the other recommendation sites which barrage you with book choices.

What Should I Read Next?: This site aims to answer that very question without bells and whistles. The search site is ultra-simple and produces suggestions based upon the books youÔÇÖve already read and rated. No login is required, but users can save favorite books once registered.

Novelry: Novelry allows users to search not just by genres, but also by more specified subjects and themes. ┬áFor example, a search term of ÔÇ£steampunk zombies that battle werewolvesÔÇØ can bring back results specific to the theme, the titles, and character components.

Favobooks and The Books Project. Both of these sites provide recommendations based on the favorite books of celebrities, thought-leaders and big business owners.