One of the best things about the internet is that it makes everything available. The down side of that is how you navigate ‘everything’ to find what’s really good and will resonate with you. This is a real issue when it comes to finding books and explains why we rely so much on the recommendations of people whose opinions we know and trust. The internet may be changing publishing but the way we choose the books we read still relies on that same principle.
Of course lots of websites now give you the chance to read reviews of books that other people have read but unless you know more about the individual reviewer and their own perspective there’s a limit to how valuable their opinion, whether positive or critical, will be. There is a way of making everyone’s opinion resonate with you no matter how their tastes and backgrounds might differ from yours however, and that’s if they were only allowed to recommend their very favourite books to you and explain in each case why that book matters so much to them. There’s no guarantee that you will share their passion for any one particular book but that personal insight will give you the context for that opinion and it may be enough to persuade you to give that book a try.
A few months ago I wrote a blog about the Unbound Library, and you can read that original post with the full details here, but, in short, we asked everyone who works for us to list their ten favourite books and write 50 words that explain why they love those books so much. We then bought those books and our office now contains a physical version of the Unbound Library. You can now read about some of those books and why we love them all so much here in this part of the site. We have also started asking our readers to share their favourite books and today invite you to do the same. All we ask is that you limit your choice to only your very favourite books and write a few words on each to explain why they mean so much to you.
In time we hope to turn the Unbound Library into the ultimate book recommendation engine that will allow anyone to stumble on books they might never have come across before. You can visit our ever growing archive now, and a new book will be featured every day. The more nominations we get the quicker the Library will grow. So feel free to browse. We hope you’ll uncover something extraordinary you wouldn’t have discovered any other way. This is very much an ‘Alpha’ version of the Library though. How and in what direction it evolves is up to you, so as well as telling us about your favourite books feel free to let us know what you’d like the Unbound Library to be able to do. You can email the librarian here.
We’re not doing this to make money, but it seems a shame to find out about a book you might want to read and then not be able to buy it so we have teamed up with our friends at Foyles. You can click through from the library to order any of the books from them if you wish. If Foyles doesn’t stock the book or it’s out of print a link will take you to Abebooks where you can find a retailer that has a copy waiting for you. If you buy something from Foyles as a result of a link Unbound will receive a small affiliate fee.