When I was in Seattle a couple of years ago I visited Eagle Harbor Book Company on Bainbridge Island. You get there by ferry IMG_0056— here’s a view of Mount Rainier from their harbor; a good deal less cloudy than usual. It’s all so sylvan and quaint (though of course it is a commuter community for Seattle) that it’s a bit of a surprise to find innovative software emanating from this woodsy idyll. But Publishers Weekly tells us of the introduction of their software Handseller™, facilitating book recommendation for booksellers via social media. The app is available at the App Store, but it isn’t immediately obvious how to sign up and use it.

Their description of the app reads “Handseller™ is a mobile app that generates personalized book recommendations for readers based on a unique set of sorting and filtering criteria chosen by the reader for each specific search, by finding ‘more books like this book’ or ‘more authors like this author’, or by a subject-specific search requested by the reader. These recommendation searches can be done in the Adult, Young Adult and Children’s book categories. The Handseller™ user will be shown book details for each recommended book, along with book reviews and designations for award winners and best sellers. The reader then has the ability to create lists to save, share and edit in the future. The Handseller™ user can share book details and lists via email templates and/or popular social media options.”

They appear to have a buy option, as proposed by Joe Esposito, so this may be a harbinger of things to come. I’m not too sure about how the app has been received. I’ve been holding off reporting on in in the hope of getting more info, but apparently no luck.

Now Joe Wikert weighs in on the same sort of subject. He is of course not wrong in chiding B&N for failing to add digital snap to his visit to the store near his home, but the chains have been wrong about so much that you sort of expect this. Still, I don’t know that I personally would want to be downloading an in-store app to my iPhone in order to navigate me around their shelves. There’s probably marketing know-how that tells you that a certain amount of geographical confusion on the part of your customers is a good thing in that it may lead to serendipitous encounters and unexpected sales. Plus of course, remember all the fuss and bother about customers wandering around bookstores checking prices on their Amazon app. Do you really want to encourage them by making them use the damn thing? It seems to me the more off-site approach of Handseller™ is a better way to go. Just imagine such a thing connected to all your local bookshops.

Mr Wikert wanders off into a riff on the Dummies series. Change has clearly disappointed him.