With so many books, how does one find … 1?

If you want to find your friends, you’ll use Facebook.

If you want to know the best contractor to fix your front porch, you might scour Angie’s List.

If you want the cheapest couch you can find — the one someone just wants out of their house — you’ll probably go to Craigslist.

There are zillions of helpful sites out there, but there are always a select few that rise above the rest. Right? You know what I mean.

In this day and age of technology and buy-everything-online … you can order your refrigerator online, you can order your car, you can even by toothpicks without ever stepping into a store.

But for something that isn’t mundane … something that is supposed to bring you — YOU specifically — pleasure, and relaxation, isn’t supposed to stress you out in the process of hunting for it, how do you go about finding IT?

I’m talking about books, of course.

Books are very personal experience. Some of us love vampires. Some love action. Others want a good, down to earth love stores. There’s grit. There’s sex. There’s sweet. A cover doesn’t always convey what’s coming inside a story. The back of the book blurby-thing is really there to entice.

So, how do we know when a book is worth the reviews? Just look on Amazon? You could … but how can you trust those reviewers? Do you even know any of them?

Most of us ask our friends or family for recommendations. “Hey, [daughter/friend/mother/coworker] … let me tell you about this book I just read….” because we have a semblance, at least, of knowledge about the likes and dislikes of that person.

Amazon doesn’t give us that… because we are directly engaging with the reviewers (necessarily — could be a fluke).

So where can we? Where can we get recommendations that are like from our family, but that have some semblance of trust? From one of the reader-focused sites out there. There are two that come to mind the fastest: Goodreads and Shelfari.

Both are book sites, with a focus on the reader. You can connect with your friends, see what they are reading, add books to your virtual bookshelf and read, rate and review at your convenience. Interestingly, Shelfari is part of Amazon (smart, aren’t they? — they too, know the value in the deep (or trivial) connections we make with our online friends.

Some of my best friends are thousands of miles away from me. I can’t see what’s on their bookshelves unless we Skype or I get a picture in email. But I can see what they’re reading by following them on one of those sites.

In an era where I can find a recommendation, pick a book and have it downloaded to my Kindle in less than 15 seconds? I’m ready to read. I don’t want to wait … and that’s exactly what these two sites offer … and opportunity to get feedback from the people I trust and who know my reading preferences … and a one or two click link to buy exactly that book.

Try ’em. See if you like ’em. 🙂 I bet you will.

Tell me about your sharing experience. Do you use Goodreads or Shelfari? Do you prefer one over the other?