From the CRANKY CONSUMER column: searching for books

From everyone’s favorite American business daily in Asia:

[quote]CRANKY CONSUMER

Getting Book Suggestions Online

By ZACHERY KOUWE
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Does searching for that perfect beach book still mean relying on recommendations from your bookworm buddy? Until recently, the best way to find a good new book was to put your faith in a friend or a book reviewer. But retailers have been scrambling to build online recommendation systems for everything from crock pots to CDs. Companies such as J.C. Penney Co., eBay Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. now give customers personalized suggestions on their Web sites.

These programs are helping some retailers move merchandise – Amazon.com Inc., for example, says personalized recommendations have increased revenue significantly. The sites are also exposing readers to new titles. A study by Rashmi Sinha, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, found that friends often suggest books and movies that they’ve previously discussed, while the online systems come up with suggestions that are “new” and “unexpected.”

But the real question is whether these sites can recommend books you’ll actually enjoy reading…[/quote]

Read it all (includes survey table): online.wsj.com/article_print/0, … 00,00.html