Publisher Harper Collins has launched its book recommendation site / social network BookArmy to the public, after a couple of months in beta.
BookArmy indexes over 8m books, and invites readers to join the site, set up their own profiles and review and rate books. Titles can also be purchased via an affiliate link to Amazon.
I had a look at BookArmy when the beta came out last year, and it has improved a bit since then. Pehaps because more people have gotten involved and left reviews, the recommendations have improved, though I think you need to get really involved in the site and add a few friends to get the best out of it.
A few issues remain though which need improving, especially now that more people will have access to the site. The site can be very slow to load, especially when searching for books and authors, and you can spend too much time waiting for pages to finish loading before you can click on results.
There are some useful options for searching for books by highest rated, most recommended or new releases, but the actual search results could be laid out better, with some options to filter when a lot of different results are returned.
As a resource for the casual user browsing for books and finding reviews, it doesn’t work as well at the moment. The slow search function makes this process frustrating, and this kind of information can be found more easily on BookRabbit, which provides more reviews and background information to help you decide on a book.