Barnes & Noble’s crowdsourcing app engages readers and earns solid reviews
Barnes & Noble has launched Browsery, an app that uses crowdsourcing to help readers discover new books.
The app basically features a bunch of questions that support “browsing, community, and conversation.” Customers can “like”, comment on or contribute answers to questions about books posted by the Browsery community. They may also like or comment on the answers of others or ask questions of their own.
For example, the Biography & Memoir section includes questions such as:
- “Favorite memoirs that include recipes?”
- “What are some interesting biographies for a film-lover?”
- “What celebrity made you laugh the hardest?”
Launched in late March, one question has already drawn 84 responses. Clicking through enables users to “agree” with a suggestion and offer the reason why. The authors with the most “agrees” to the “laugh the hardest” question included Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Trevor Noah.
Readers can search across 15 categories (science fiction, self-help, etc.) and can personalize their feed around favorite genres. They can also make purchases or do sampling via the app.
The Browsery initiative will also include a “Question of the Day” and an “Asked By an Author” question of the week posted across Barnes & Noble’s social media accounts with the best responses and recommendations being shared.
The app is being compared to Goodreads, the social book review database, as well as peer-driven book recommendations that can be found on Twitter and Reddit.
Writing for Mobile Marketer, Robert Williams said that while some readers may not trust recommendations from a bookseller’s platform, Barnes & Noble could offer discounts, exclusive offers and VIP access at its stores that Goodreads likely can’t match.
The app has earned high reviews so far on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. One reviewer commented that Browsery’s engagement level was higher than Goodreads. Being able to easily sort by specific interest and the ability to ask questions was highlighted.
One of the negative reviews read, “The app is well made, I just fail to see the point. Crowdsourcing my reading isn’t for me. I’d have preferred B&N had put more effort into the recommendation engine of their main app than whatever this is.”
- Barnes & Noble Launches Browsery — The First Mobile App to Talk About Books the Way Readers Do – Barnes & Noble
- Barnes & Noble debuts book discovery social network – Mobile Marketer
- Browsery by Barnes & Noble – Google Play
- Browsery by Barnes & Noble – App Store
- Barnes & Noble’s ‘Browsery’ App Is Supposed To Make It Easier Than Ever To Find Your Next Favorite Book – Bustle
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of B&N’s Browsery app strategy? Will it draw more sales for the retailer? Will Browsery demonstrate how crowdsourcing and mobile can take user-generated-content for retailers to another level?