Discovering Books with Riffle–An Invitation

http://read.rifflebooks.comBook bloggers don’t usually have to look very hard to find good books to read. In fact, I sometimes think we have the opposite problem. Between the blogs, online newsletters, booksellers and industry contacts, sites like Goodreads, and conversations with our reading-loving friends online and off, we have almost too many places to learn about what we might want to read next. Do we need another “book-discovery” website?

Maybe we book bloggers don’t–but even now, when nearly everyone’s online, I’d still guess that the majority of people who read books don’t blog about them (and some may not even be aware that there are people who do). With mainstream-media book coverage these days often limited to the biggest-selling and/or most controversial titles, readers need to look elsewhere to find books worth their time. Riffle could be one of those places.

Publishers Weekly called Riffle “Pinterest for books,” and the site’s founders don’t discount Pinterest’s influence:

“…Riffle takes its name from the word for thumbing through a book. And that’s exactly the sense of discovery that founder and CEO Neil Baptista would like to re-create online. He wants to go beyond the current Internet phase where anybody can write a review. ‘…There’s a ton of online expertise, and we want people to push their content through Riffle,’ says Baptista, who plans to work with book bloggers, booksellers, authors, and others to create a ‘distilled single feed’ for books.

“To do so Baptista will make use of data and insights about readers that (Riffle creator) Odyl has already gleaned through its marketing work for authors and publishers. And he plans to add new Riffle members slowly. People can’t just sign up, they have to (request invitations to join). ‘Pinterest is still invitation only,’ he points out. ‘That made them ensure that they had quality content before you sign in. The first impression is key to inspiring a user. Invitation only is a way to give us an idea of what people want so we can give them great content…Our whole perspective is that content will get people attracted to this,’ says Baptista, who is following the Pinterest and Instagram models. ‘We want to invite people in and be part of its development.’”

I’ve accepted an invitation to join Riffle. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how it will fit into my online book-related activities, but I’m starting by taking them at their word; if Riffle is “Pinterest for books,” I’ll try keeping my book wish list–which I set up on Pinterest last year–on Riffle. 

Riffle cover photo, via

Like Pinterest, Riffle is largely image-driven–in this case, by book covers, and it isn’t geared for cataloging, reviewing, or even rating books. However, it’s very easy to search out or spot a book, click on the cover to get information about it, and mark it as one you’re “interested” in. You can also mark what you’re currently reading (just one book at a time, but I hope that changes), check it off when you finish it, recommend it if you think it’s worthy, and share your recommendation on Facebook if you choose to.

Now I’d like to discover people on Riffle, not just books, so I’d like to invite you to join me there. Use this code, and please follow me once you get there! (The code will only work for a limited number of responders! If it’s no longer valid when you click it, please contact Riffle to request an invite of your own.) And if you have some good ideas about how to get the most out of Riffle, let us all know about them!

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