Welcome back to Music Monday!
For previous posts, you can check out this page 🙂
Book bloggers/reviewers/readers alike seem to constantly be on the lookout for new ways of improving their reader experience. I’m pretty content with Goodreads for all my reading needs so I really haven’t explored much beyond that, though mainly because it’s yet another platform to keep up! But recently I was approached by the creators of ShelfJoy, a website that helps you discover books to read, so I decided to check it out.
I’ll start by giving you guys a little rundown of what the site is all about, and then I thought I’d run you through what my experience has been like so you’ll know exactly what to expect.
ShelfJoy is dedicated to helping you find your next great read. As the makers describe it, this is a “hand-curated book recommendation service”. They offers hundreds of shelves to explore, each based on certain topics. All you need to do is enter the search term you’re interested in and sift through the results until you find something you like.
I can definitely see the appeal of this, as usually with Goodreads I only add books to my TBR after I’ve heard about them on Twitter or elsewhere. With ShelfJoy, it provides an easy way of searching for new books to read when you don’t necessarily have a particular title or author in mind.
Joining is quite easy as you sign up through either Facebook or Twitter. This imports over your icon and bio, though you can edit this on the ShelfJoy site if you’d like. Here’s what my profile page looks like:
Now’s the fun part! There’s a couple different things you can do on this site, the main one being searching for books. Up top in the search bar is the prompt “I feel like discovering books about…“, and you can fill this in with whatever you’d like. To go with today’s #MusicMonday theme, I entered ‘music’ to see what kind of results might come up.
I reached the page in the second image by hitting the return key after I typed in ‘music’. As you can see, you can enter as many tags as you’d like for a more refined search.
Each result you get is of a shelf created either by the makers of the site or other community members. The community shelves are fewer and farther between but it is a younger site so that’s to be expected. To their credit though, ShelfJoy has created a ton of shelves on every topic imaginable so it’s not that you’re without shelves to explore.
When you scroll through one of these shelves, you have the option to add individual books to your Reading List (as well as click the Amazon link if you want to satisfy your craving right away). This list appears on your profile as a tab beside your shelves so you can easily check back in and see the ones you were interested in. You can also click the heart on a shelf and this ‘saves’ them, though where they are saved to I have no idea. I can’t find the shelves I’ve saved anywhere on my profile so I don’t know what this is actually doing.
You can of course also create your own shelves, so I created a Music Monday one. It’s not all that long yet so feel free to leave recommendations for more to add in the comments, but you can check it out here!
This was really quite easy to create. You can add cover art, a title and description, and tags so others can find it in their searches. Then you add books, which is as simple as typing the title, author, or even the ISBN into the search bar (a different search bar than before), and then clicking on the book. You can also include your own thoughts on the book, choosing from reaction images or adding notes to personalize your recommendations.
I did have some issue adding books because there were a few I wanted to add that didn’t come up in my search. Perhaps they’re lesser-known but they are available on Amazon so I’m not sure where the results on the site are generated from.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed getting lost in book searches on this site, though I’m cautious of adding more books to my ever-growing TBR! I’d like to see what happens with the site as more members join. It’d be nice to be able to search solely for community members’ shelves or even just for the other members themselves. You’re able to follow people, though I’m not sure what this does besides listing them on your profile, but you have to find them through their shelves first! I’d love having a connection with other readers, so the community aspect for me is missing.
One last thing about the site that I thought was really fun, and something I’d never experienced before, is their Facebook bot! All you need to do is add ShelfJoy on Messenger and you can get personalized recommendations. The feature I don’t love about it is the daily message. Supposedly, it sends you a new shelf each day but that has not been my experience. Instead, I’ve received the same book recommendation every day since March 17th! 😛 I was getting different books before that so maybe it’s because I’m not interacting with the bot?
However, the part I like about it is that it makes searching for books even easier than it is on their site. If you’re really in need of a book to read fast, this is a perfect way of finding something you’ll like. With each recommendation, you have the option of seeing more of the shelf, exploring other shelves, or buying it on Amazon. You can see some of my ‘conversation’ with the bot below.
I think ShelfJoy definitely delivers on what it has set out to do as you can very easily find books based on your interests. Most of the time, my searches have been random, sometimes based on genre but more often just wandering around bookstores or libraries. Being able to search by topic(s) is a really ingenious idea to help find exactly what I’m looking for.
The site is missing more of a community feel but in a way that puts some pressure off me in maintaining this site. I can engage with others more directly on different sites and use this one purely to set up my next reads.
Do you use ShelfJoy? What has your experience on the site been like, or what other sites do you use for your book searches? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
All opinions are my own