Google is introducing a new feature in Play Books for bibliophiles called Discover. It’s designed to enhance your reading experience by helping you discover new books to read and much more.
Want to know if a book is being made into a movie? Which books will make it on the New York Times Bestselling list? Discover lets you find news, reviews, lists and videos – all about books.
The book algorithms have also been improved. Google will suggest the right stories at the right time, based on previous books you’ve read in Play Books. When you read an article or watch a video in the app, Discover will automatically pull out the books that are mentioned, so you can get a sample or buy the book in a couple of taps.
You’ll also get Weekly Highlights offering you a roundup of the most important news, reviews and videos of the week, in a quick digest. Finally, to pair with Discover, another new feature called Google Play Editorial is being released. Readers can find author interviews, essays and book selections from some of the top writers.
Compared To Other Book Stores
Aside from Apple Music, Apple hasn’t brought many recommendation features to its other services, like iBooks. The app has Featured and Top Charts sections, but to my knowledge doesn’t provide you with book suggestions/recommended reading. There is much that Apple can do to improve the reading experience, so hopefully iBooks will get updated with smarter features in the future.
iBooks usually has a What We’re Reading for <month> or <week>, as well as Trending books and Authors You Might Like. But none of these feel personalized to each individual reader. When I asked Siri to give me book suggestions, she said “Unfortunately Andrew, I am as yet imperfect.”
Amazon leverages its suggestions for Kindle like it does on the website. When you buy a book, you’ll see the usual Recommended for You section, but these suggestions can be hit or miss. The Kindle app has a Book Browser that lets you explore books based on category, popular, short reads, and popular series.
As far as I can tell, Barnes & Noble recommended books works like a curated playlist. Similar to iBooks, books are categorized based on genre, as well as new releases, signed books and New York Times Bestsellers.
Kobo’s eBook reading app is the most similar to Google Play Books. It offers suggested books based on the ones in your library. On the website, it maintains a Top 50 trending book list, updated every hour. There is a Top 50 for each genre, as well as overall.
Play Store: Google Play Books