It’s closely resembles Goodreads, a popular social reading site bought by Amazon last month.
The company is changing how it does some things. The Reading Room will now offer print brooks for sale, starting June 1, along with e-books that were already available on its site.
“By combining the power of social networking with carefully curated content, recommendations and featured selections, and the ability to buy eBooks and soon print titles in the U.S. (followed later by other parts of the world), readers can now discover books much in the same way they have in the past from people they know and trust,” the company wrote in a press release.
“Finding the right book online can be difficult, particularly when you don’t know what you are looking for,” says Kim Anderson, CEO of TheReadingRoom.com. “We function as an independent bookseller but take the relationship one step further than mere browsing by also serving as a reliable and trusted digital source, with a range of online tools and community resources—providing the powerful potential for discovery.”
By selling e-books as well as print books, The Reading Room becomes a direct competitor with Amazon on the book front. The Reading Room has a different way of helping readers find books by using customer feedback, virtual bookshelves, reviews and other metrics, but also recommendations from other users on the site.
The Reading Room hopes this will give them an advantage over its competitors.
“Algorithms can play a part and these days are pretty smart,” said Anderson, “but they can’t recommend books from people you know and trust, or find that unrelated hidden gem that you never would have unearthed without the guidance of a friend.”
Reviews are also included from outlets such as the New York Times, The Guardian, and respected book bloggers.
“We separate reviews from posts and comments,” says Anderson. “While the latter are a great way to build awareness and hype, sometimes they’re not enough for a reader to get a sense of whether they will enjoy or want to explore a new writer. Reading outside your favorite genres is not typical for most readers, so breaking in can be difficult for first-time authors and new titles.”
To read e-books from its store, readers will have to download the free The Reading Room app, available for both iOS and Android systems.