March 23, 2017

Self-check your way to great recommendations

I’m listening to the audiobook version of The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye and it’s A-MAZE-ING. I love everything about the book. I love Timothy Wilde, the main character pulled (unwillingly) into police work and then into detective work. I love the language, which is full of dialect, slang, and beautiful detail about the people and places. And I love the narration. Steven Boyer’s rich voice brings the characters (and the variety of accents) to life. When I’m done with this audiobook, I’m going to pop into NoveList Plus and find listen-alikes to keep in my back pocket for the next time I’m in the mood for a compelling historical mystery on audio.

(Confession time. I couldn’t wait. While writing this article, I looked in NoveList. One of the recommendations is Caleb Carr’s The Alienist, which is a spot-on match. I first read that mystery while avoiding homework in college and it’s been a favorite ever since).

Of course, I have two advantages when it comes to finding read-alikes. One: I’m a librarian and trained to find good books. Two: I work at NoveList. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a librarian and you probably have NoveList too.

However, most of our readers aren’t librarians. They’re people like my mom, who thinks her question about books might not be important enough for the librarian (excepting her daughter, of course) and who doesn’t have time for computers -- but who loves self-check and her mobile phone.

When I’m thinking about NoveList and library work and readers’ advisory, I think about people like my mom. And I think, how can a library get book recommendations to her?

Displays. Shelf-talkers. My mom will take almost any handout she can find, so booklists and bookmarks, of course. And receipts. She looks over her library receipts for due dates almost as closely as she looks at her grocery receipts for correct pricing information and coupons.

If you’re thinking, “Jennifer is setting me up for the answer,” then you’re right. I am. When I think about my mom getting book recommendations, I think about how awesome it would be if that self-check receipt (email or print) suggested she read The Alienist after she’s finished with The Gods of Gotham and mentioned that the next book in the Timothy Wilde series is Seven for a Secret. Even better if the self-check screen gave her a chance to put those recommendations on hold.

The good news? NoveList’s recommendations are now available on selfcheck screens (and receipts). You're welcome, mom! 

Jennifer Lohmann is a NoveList Consultant. 


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