Thursday, July 20, 2006
Ever asked yourself, "What should I read next?" Well, so have the people at StoryCode. And this interesting little site goes far beyond the usual model to help you answer that burning question.
Yes, I know there are tons of places with user ratings for books and even user reviews. But a simple one to five rating is often pretty useless. Do I really care how many people who are totally unlike me dislike a book? No! I want to know what other people with similar tastes like! Yes, Amazon and others have "what other users like you like" feature, but it's not reliable enough.
User reviews can be more valueable, since they give more of the bigger picture. I especially love the eloquent, well-thought-out gems such as, "this book sucks, dont by it" or "this book is the best buy it now!" But really, are the six paragraph diatribes much better? It can take forever to get to the useful ones; you know, the ones that actually evaluate the book and provide you with the information necessary to make an informed decision.
So why is StoryCode better? StoryCode doesn't simply ask for a rating. Instead, the user answers a series of questions about the book, covering General Information, Genre, Characters, Plot, Plot Type, Morality ("How much does it deliver a moral message?"), Story Resolution, Setting, and Atmosphere. Typical questions are "How much is the story driven by the plot or the characters?"The last two sections are more about you : Recommendations and Demographics. (Before you stress over the demographics, it only asks age range and gender!)
StoryCode then looks at your "codes" for the book and compares your book to all the books in the database. Each book has an average value assigned to each question, which is then compared to your book. And up pops a list of similar books, complete with the average rating, a readibility rating, and the recommended minimum age!
Obviously the usefulness of StoryCode is limited by the number of codes for each title in the database. That's why you should go code some stories now!