Good vibrations

The latest way to get your book to the front of the queue is through a new app, BookVibe, and publishers should take note.

BookVibe is a book discovery tool which aims to aggregate information by feeding into your Twitter feeds. Type in your Twitter handle and it’ll show you which books your followers are reading and talking about. It displays the book jacket with a star rating for social sentiment and a social buzz rating of low, medium or high.

It’s exciting and I think BookVibe has the potential to change the way publishers can examine the effectiveness of their PR campaigns and reader demographics, plus it’s free to use. The claim is that the tool can surf through 500m tweets a day, drill down into those which mention books and decipher if the vibe is positive or negative. It’s an easy and fun way for readers to integrate and for publishers to see what readers are talking about across genres.

Discover a book you like and you can directly thank the author within the app with a tweet that uses a template text message (promoting BookVibe—of course). Press send and the recipient can record the response for evaluation later. Replies, retweets and favourites can all be accessed within the app.

The Explore link at the top of the app brings us to the Captains of Industry page, which displays what the top bods are reading: for example, who would have guessed that Tim O'Reilly might be paging through The Gardens of Democracy or that journalist and Polis director Charlie Beckett is currently reading The Bell Jar?

Of course with a project like this the danger lies in accuracy. If books that share the same title are continually mentioned or a book is recommended in one feed then casually mentioned in another, it remains to be seen how well the tool’s algorithms separate the differences so that the results are not mixed up.

As well as Twitter, BookVibe aims to soon tap into public Facebook posts, and Parakweet, the company behind the idea, plans to implement additional features such as book alerts for new releases and user book lists.

Although the company would appear to want to take a sizeable chunk out of the online book review market, it may take some time. A large majority of readers will still count on trusted sites such as We Love This Book for their reviews but the idea of this new concept is appealing in terms of social media measurement for publishers.

With a glut of good books released every year, this might be one way for the novels which would normally be pushed to the back of the queue to genuinely rise above the rest.

Lloyd Paige is a freelance writer, reviewer and online consultant.