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News Corporation-owned publisher HarperCollins is to launch its biggest online play with the UK and US rollout of a community-based book recommendation site.

BookArmy, which launches next week, will list every book with an ISBN and aims to drive sales and build a community of readers.

It will be promoted across News Corp properties including BSkyB and MySpace, as well as stickers on every HarperCollins book jacket.

The recommendation engine is based on a set of algorithms that will constantly feed users suggestions based on what books they like, what their friends like and what those with similar tastes enjoy.

HarperCollins director of digital development Charlie Redmayne said, "It's not branded HarperCollins as that wouldn't work. It's for book enthusiasts who'll want to go there to find Harry Potter or Catcher in the Rye."

Information from BookArmy will be used to build a database for HarperCollins, to inform future marketing campaigns.

Authors will be encouraged to create and manage their own pages, while readers will be able to compile virtual bookshelves and write reviews to share with others.

Those browsing books will be able to access a synopsis, similar titles and information on events. They will also be able to enter a chat forum around the book and click through to Amazon to buy.

BookArmy is a joint venture between HarperCollins and investment fund Fleming Media, which recently invested in mother and baby social network Gurgle.

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Published 18 September, 2008 by NMA Staff

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