Publishing Hackathon

Sorry for the late notice, but I only just saw this myself: Publishing Hackathon.

From the website: “Book discovery needs innovation. It’s never been easier to get a book into a reader’s hands—just one click. But, with over 10,000 books published each year on every topic imaginable, how do people find out about them? There are fewer bookstores to help readers discover exciting new authors and ideas. There’s currently no digital experience that replicates the serendipity of browsing bookshelves. Recommendation engines are fairly primitive – they know what you bought, but they don’t know why. It’s a disruptive opportunity that hasn’t been explored.”

And it’s this weekend.

I would love to be involved in something like this, except for a few issues. First, it’s this weekend so the timing stinks. Second, I haven’t done techy stuff in over twenty-five years so that aspect is beyond me. Third, not enough time to get a team together.

But, and here is the big but: I feel strongly that any type of innovation like this needs people with readers advisory skills. These “soft” skills should not be added after the tech stuff has been created, but should be organic to the entire process.

I will give one pro tip: no discovery tool for readers should say, “if you like book x by author y, here are other books by author y.”

First, authors write a variety of types of books. Second, the reader will have already found those books. It’s a time waster and makes it seem like the tool doesn’t work.

Sounds obvious…. but I’ve seen it one too many times.

So, because of readers advisory skills, I’m hoping some libraryland people are participating!

If you are, please, let us know how it goes!

I’ll be at BEA when some of the Hack Demos will be shared, and hopefully I’ll be able to see some of it. Especially if I clone myself. But that’s a different hack.

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