Spotify for Books Anyone?

SpotifyNote: From time to time, I plan to feature a handy gadget I enjoy using on my computer, since I spend so much time there anyhow. When possible, I will tie the gadget into my love of fiction writing. 

I’m sure someone’s thought of it, but so far, I haven’t seen anything burst on the scene for books like Spotify is for music. Oh wait. Some of you may not even know what Spotify, one my favorites free services, is or how it works. Here’s a quick description (minus the gobbledygook), thanks to Wikipedia:

Spotify is a commercial music streaming service…Music can be browsed by artist, album, record label, genre or playlist as well as by direct searches.

In short, one can listen to basically any music available in Spotify’s gargantuan library. And yes, it’s legal and free. The only drawback of the free service, of which I’m a subscriber, is the occasional annoying ads for music and artists I would never listen to. I can pay a monthly fee to forego the ads, but I’m cheap, and I like free. So I put up with the occasional commercial. Behind the scenes, I believe the artist makes some money each time his or her song gets played.

What I like best about Spotify beyond the free listen of just about any recording I want to hear (and there are a ton of them) is the feature that recommends new artists. I’ve discovered so much great music this way. What Spotify does is recommend other artists based on my listening preferences. This helps me find great music, and it helps those artists get discovered. A win-win for both the listener and artist.

Hmmm. That’s amazing marketing. If only we had something like this for novels . . .

For example, the other day, I was listening to Doug Hammer, a solo pianist I’d discovered online (I’ve grown rather attached to this song), and film composer Thomas Newman. Just a few minutes ago, I opened Spotify in Chrome using the Spotify app only to find this page staring back at me:

Spotify Recommendations

Bingo! What a great way for new artists to get discovered (and for me to find more music I like). “If you like Doug Hammer, we recommend James Todd.” “You listened to Thomas Newman. Here’s an album you might like.” “If you like Doug Hammer, try Solomon Keal.”

If only there was something like this for novels . . .
“If you like Terri Blackstock, we recommend Adam Blumer.”
“You read a novel by Brandilyn Collins. Here’s a novel by Adam Blumer you might like.”
“If you like Tim Downs, try Adam Blumer.”

What an amazing service that would be for newer and mostly undiscovered novelists.

Only in my dreams? Maybe not. Maybe someday you’ll be able to read a novel for free online (with advertising) and find recommendations for new novels/novelists based on the novels and authors you really like.

The music industry seems to be ahead of the game on this one. Could publishing be far behind? I just did a Google search, and guess what? I’m not the only one toying with this idea.

What do you think? Have you ever tried Spotify? What do you think of the feasibility of a similar model for novels? Do you think a similar book service could ever be possible? Why or why not?

By the way . . . do you like movie soundtracks, classical music, sacred music, or contemporary instrumental music? If you get into Spotify, look for me, and we’ll discover great new music together. Here’s one of my latest discoveries:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEgOEZm9CNw[/youtube]

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