I want to talk for a moment about book discovery, again mostly through the lens of the Kindle & e-books more broadly. It used to be, I'd walk into a bookstore, browse the shelves, and pick a book. (And yes, I realize now, though I didn't then, how much that's governed by commercial concerns & displays). If I was lucky, I could look at a library that had a good selection of what I was interested in, or (best of all) an indie bookstore or used bookstore by someone who really knew and loved my genre.
Now, I don't even bother. My local indie bookstore is a disappointment, though I make an effort to buy books for the girls there, and to order books for me from them. My local used bookstore folded. I've been pleased by the selection in the library, but SFF is grouped with general fiction, so the discovery aspect is hardly strong.
I do, however, discover a lot from Twitter. (I'm not on Facebook or Tumblr in any significant way, so it's tough to know if these can also serve as discovery platforms). I don't really learn much from book review blogs for a few reasons: first, these seem often to be driven by marketing concerns (i.e. the book that's getting a big marketing push shows up on a lot of review blogs), but also I have difficulty reading a "typical" review (marketing copy, plot summary which repeats the marketing copy to a significant degree, then some response). There are a handful of reviewers I will read because I learn about reading from them, but it's infrequent that a review prompts me to buy a book (or even read beyond the first few lines).
But here's the thing - I'd like to actively read new to me science fiction and fantasy (a departure from my agenda of the past few years). I don't particularly care whether it's actually new, beyond the fact that a lot of older SFF is either difficult to find or likely to feel dated, but I'd love to get advice and recommendations.
And there are a lot of voices, particularly on Twitter, that I trust to recommend books. I regularly email myself tweets in order to add books/authors to my To Be Read pile.
My podcast client is Overcast, which includes a feature that will show the podcasts and recommended episodes of people you follow on Twitter. I'd love something like that for books. Some form of bookshelf, curated, easy to follow, with buy links, closely linked to people I follow. (It's too hard for me on the phone to get from a twitter user to a goodreads list to even check if this is a viable option).
Much as I'm dissatisfied with how Amazon handles the experience of owning and organizing books, I'm also dissatisfied with the experience of discovering new books online. But good god there's room for someone to come in and develop an easy method to set up links to books tied closely to trusted voices. The revenue stream is obvious. Please? Someone? (Pinterest?)
*Unfinished - what would mine look like?