The long awaited launch of Bookish this week was met with scrutiny as many explored its features and critiqued its usability. Though it’s the first publisher collaboration when it comes to online retail sites, it’s one of many book recommendation sites that have cropped up over the years from Zola to Bookateria. While US entrepreneurs explore the various opportunities to build communities and ecommerce capabilities to help the cause of book discoverability in an age of online purchasing, a quieter UK site is serving a few very well, ranking as the 21,913th most popular site in the world on Alexa.com, trailing comparable sites like Goodreads (354th), Shelfari (19,790th) and Library Thing (10,021th).
Fantastic Fiction is a fiction reader’s dream, as it captures complete works by every author we have entered, sorts them by year of publication and series, offers short synopses, and has recommendations from most of the authors for others that they like. It’s essential when you’ve just discovered a new writer that you love.
What makes Fantastic Fiction unique is the focus on the author and how their work is organized. If you compare it to an Amazon author page, there’s no contest. On Amazon, books are not grouped by series, finding year of publication requires drilling down two or three pages, and every listing is linked to a particular edition. Fantastic Fiction approaches from the perspective of the work and when it was first released. Then, if you click on a particular book, you find out all the formats it has been released in; the site knows if you’re in the US or the UK and gives you information accordingly—including the availability of used editions with links to the reseller. If the same book has been published under a different title in another country, it is noted in parentheses. In other words, everything a new reader needs to know is shown–cleanly and simply.
For the avid mystery reader, the site is essential and the UK perspective is especially helpful as, unfortunately, many fans find that their favorites are not always represented fully in the States. You can see at a glance which books have been published in either market and it’s especially helpful in finding all books related to a series. Editors would do well to use the site to snap up rights to neglected backlist titles that might prove saleable given a strong new frontlist title.
And it’s not just mysteries. Search for any fiction writer and you will find their complete works—even when it’s just a story in a collection! Try it; you’ll be hooked.