Reading books is a common habit among successful makers and many attribute at least part of their success to certain books.

But how do you find the books that truly make a difference? There are millions of books to choose from and most of them are not worth your time.

MakerReads is a humble attempt to solve this problem by providing the data you need to pick the best book for your current circumstances. Data is aggregated from platforms like Amazon, Twitter and GoodReads, but also from niche communities like Indie Hackers and Hacker News. Using this data, parameters like a book’s “mainstream popularity” or “maker awareness” are calculated. Moreover, you can filter books by price, age, and check if an audiobook version exists.

Now, since you made it this far, I want to tell you a bit more about my long-term vision for Maker Reads.

But first, let’s talk quickly about GoodReads. It’s well known that “almost everything about GoodReads is broken”. GoodReads tries to do many things at once but doesn’t do anything particularly well.

  • It wants to provide a digital bookshelf. Unfortunately, organizing your books and keeping track of your reading progress on GoodReads is not fun due to the clunky, ugly, and slow user interface. Nevertheless, I would say that this is what GoodReads is best at.
  • Goodreads also wants to provide book data and reading recommendations. It even calls itself “the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations.” However, the data provided is usually not very useful and the recommendations far from optimal. Most of the time, you’ll only find dozens of list that tell you to read “Harry Potter” or some other book you already know about. Since it’s primarily a popularity contest and most users have an entry-level taste, it’s almost impossible to discover hidden gems or niche books on GoodReads.
  • It also wants to be a social network. In theory, it’s certainly a great idea to connect people based on their reading habits. However, I’ve personally never met anyone through GoodReads and don’t know anyone who did. GoodReads has all the features of a typical early web 2.0 platform. But it’s no longer 2010 and I’m not sure if just a bunch of social features were ever enough to create a striving community.
  • Finally, GoodReads wants to provide ways for authors to connect with their readers. Again, a good idea executed poorly and hardly used by anyone.
  • Of course, it would be ideal if someone would build a new platform that solves all of these “jobs-to-be-done” in a better way. But since attempting to do many things at once is a sure way to failure, I’ve decided to start with just one puzzle piece.

    What you’re currently looking at is Version 0.1 of MakerReads. There is just one feature: data-driven book recommendations. However, in the coming months, I’ll test several additional features that target the remaining “jobs-to-be-done” in the list above.

    If you want to get notified when one of these additional features gets added, follow me on Twitter.

    Moreover, if you have any type of comment or feedback, feel free to email me at JakobGreenfeld [at] gmail.com

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