Via James comes this clever books website. I wasn't sure whether to put this here or on the work blog - it could fit in either - but I'll put it here for now and see if Ceri picks it up on Telegraph blogs. When you sign up to LibraryThing you can add books in your collection, rate them and tag them. Then you can see readers who have similar collections to yours, view your collection (or anyone else's) as a tag cloud or get recommendations for what to read next. You can see my page here.
The recommendations seem to be based on how many books you have by a specific author and what rating you have given to those books. Even adding or subtracting one star from a book can alter the list of recommendations you get. So you get other books by authors you already have - though you can eliminate those if you want - and books, I presume, from other readers with similar tastes.
It would be interesting to know how much the recommendations are influenced by things you don't like. So, for example, if I add a load of books I can't stand and give them a one star rating will LibraryThing identify similar books and exclude them from my recommendations? It should be fairly easy to find out.
Another interesting aspect of LibraryThing is the way it handles forums. If you post a message about a book in the LT forums, you can put brackets around the title or the author and LT will make it a link. I'll let them explain why this is significant:
Because LibraryThing knows what a message is about, it can provide multiple entry points to the discussion. So, a discussion of Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and Philip Pullman is referenced on ALL these author's pages, as well as that of the books in question--Amazon's lonely boxes get hallways between them!
Best of all, because LibraryThing also knows what books YOU have, it can show you only the forum discussions that touch them. This is what the "Your books" link does. If someone out there starts talking about Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, I'll know. (Oh, RSS feeds are coming, of course.)
More than 57,000 people have signed up so far, registering ownership (or readership) of almost one million titles. Clearly the site will only get stronger as more people join.