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BookLamp Was Once 'the Pandora for Books'

Library Book and Lamp
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Update: 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 e-reading 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If you're still looking for information related to BookLamp, you can find the original (now outdated) article about the company below.

BookLamp is a small company with hoes pf 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 is looking to do the same with books by creating a literature database and using a computer to compare novels.

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What Is BookLamp?

BookLamp is a project aimed at collecting the text of novels and analyzing it to form comparisons with other novels based on such attributes as description and pacing. In this way, BookLamp will be able to suggest similar books by analyzing the way the books are written and not just a comparison of subject matter and theme.

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.

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How Does BookLamp Work?

BookLamp uses 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 is 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 searches through its database of books to find similar novels. After finding the best set of matches, BookLamp presents the list to the user and orders the list based on reviews received by Amazon.com.

Currently, BookLamp only has a limited number of books in the database, which limits its ability to effectively pick out good matches. But, as other book-scanning projects emerge to augment BookLamp's efforts, that will change.

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What Does BookLamp Have In Store For The Future?

BookLamp is 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 is one such area that focuses on the changing pace of a novel. For example, if a novel starts out slow but speeds up a quarter of the way into the story, pattern shifting could find comparative books.

Interest is 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.

It's BookLamp's hope that these additional categories will further help the computer determine good reads for the user.

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Updated by: Elise Moreau