Random House Updates BookScout: FB Friendly and Ready to Go

In Tech Digest by Dennis Abrams

By Dennis Abrams

What with all the attention being paid to Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads, it’s important to remember that there are other games in town when it comes to the world of social book discovery. And with that in mind, Random House recently announced updates to its BookScout app that allow it to sync up with Facebook’s improved timeline and About page.

Launched in January, BookScout provides readers with a social book discovery experience directly on Facebook. Using it, people can create and organize their own digital bookshelves and explore their friends’ bookshelves to learn what others are reading. (Since its introduction, people have added over 27,000 books to their BookScout shelves and have “liked” over 21,000, both from Random House and other publishers.)

Random House designed BookScout with that in mind — to help encourage spontaneous word-of-mouth recommendations so people can share information about what they’re reading directly with their Facebook friends, tag the books they’d like to read, and keep track of the books they’ve already read. In addition, the app provides personalized book recommendations from all publishers (not just Random House!) and includes links to major retailers so that people can easily purchase the print and eBooks they’re interested in.

In a press release, Amanda Close, Random House’s Senior Vice President, Digital Marketplace Development, had this to say. “Feedback from Facebook members has been and will continue to be a key component in our efforts to provide the best book discovery and social reading experience with BookScout. With this refresh, we make it easier than ever to engage with BookScout on your tablet, see what friends are reading and share the books you want to discuss.”

And in an interview with Publishing Perspectives, Close expanded on Random House’s goals for the app. “What BookScout does is really aimed to make the most of the experience of books on Facebook. It’s designed to serve Facebook users; it’s for people who are already using Facebook who don’t have a lot of time to out to the other more robust book discovery experiences. It’s a Facebook app. It’s meant to be that, it doesn’t live anywhere else in the world. And that’s really the goal. Our goal is to promote book discovery.”

For more information about BookScout and to install the app, click here.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.