Do you know The BookScore?

In two July posts, I made the case for a better review aggregation site for the book world, a site like Rotten Tomatoes for books that collects links to reviews from several major sources, provides a blurb from those reviews, and then compiles some kind of composite score to give readers and book culture a quick window on the overall impression of reviewers about new titles.

Enter a new site to the fray: The BookScore. This is probably the most graceful attempt I’ve seen yet at a book review aggregation site. BookScore draws its reviews only from major sources: NPR, The New York Times, The Guardian, Slate, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, and the like. They aggregate reviews for books for which they can find five or more reviews and provide a blurb from each aggregated review, a link to the full review, and an aggregated review score for each book they cover. It’s a quick place to look and get a collection of professional reviews to take to the book group meeting, to aid a decision about whether or not to read a book, or to make a library purchasing decision. In addition to the aggregated reviews, they also have a blog to highlight book news, and discuss both their process and the book reviewing world in general.

The site isn’t perfect yet. I hope that as they grow, they’ll turn out new aggregate reviews even more quickly than they are now. I hope they’ll include the four review sources on which the library world depends most often: Booklist, Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews. We use these source because of their unbiased, well-regulated reviews, their timeliness, the volume and scope of reviews they produce, and their carefully managed teams of quality reviewers. They should also cultivate use of more genre-specific review sources like Locus, Romantic Times, and SF Site so that they can expand coverage of genre fiction.

Still, this is a well implemented site worthy of your browsing time. Among the many book sites that come and go online, this is one that will become a regular browsing stop for me as long as they continue to improve.

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About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

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