Looking for BookLamp? Try These Alternatives Instead

BookLamp was once "the Pandora for books"

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According to a 2014 post from TechCrunch, Apple confirmed that it had acquired BookLamp without disclosing any plans about what the company would do with it. The site, BookLamp.com, is no longer available.

Want other digital book alternatives? Then check out these resources:

If you're still looking for information related to BookLamp, you can find the original (now outdated) article about the company below.

What Was BookLamp?

BookLamp was a small company that had a goal of becoming the Pandora of books. 

Pandora, which is a music service that's based on the Music Genome Project, uses the similarity between musical sound to suggest new music to users. BookLamp hoped to do the same with books by creating a literature database and using a computer to compare novels.

Founded by Aaron Stanton, BookLamp took the road less traveled in its formation. After coming up with the idea for BookLamp, Aaron Stanton flew out to Google Headquarters and sat in the lobby until they either listened to him or threw him out. The stunt gained international coverage, and through Aaron's website, CanGoogleHearMe.com (which has since been taken offline), Aaron met a group of programmers who were willing to help out on the project.

The BookLamp project aimed to collect the text of novels and analyze them to form comparisons with other novels based on such attributes as description and pacing. In this way, BookLamp was able to suggest similar books by analyzing the way the books were written and not just by a comparison of subject matter and theme.

How Did BookLamp Work?

BookLamp used the text of a novel to decipher the style of the book based on six categories: pacing, density, action, description, dialogue, and perspective. For example, a dramatically higher density of first person pronouns would indicated that the novel was written in first person. Similarly, a novel with a high density of adjectives would score higher on description than a novel with a low density of adjectives.

Using this information, BookLamp searched through its database of books to find similar novels. After finding the best set of matches, BookLamp presented the list to the user and ordered the list based on reviews received by Amazon.com. It only had a limited number of books in its database, which limited its ability to effectively pick out good matches.

What Made BookLamp Stand Out?

Before it was acquired by Apple and taken offline in 2014, BookLamp was focusing on new areas to better predict which books a user might be interested in based on the input of a single book. Pattern shifting was one such area that focused on the changing pace of a novel. For example, if a novel started out slow but sped up a quarter of the way into the story, pattern shifting could find comparative books.

Interest was another area of focus for BookLamp. Interest covers the very basics of the novel such as if it was set in space or on Earth or in a fantastical land. In addition, interest would cover more subtle areas such as the setting being a city verses a rural area, or the main character being a young man as opposed to an old man.

Article updated by: Elise Moreau