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Story Code – Website Recommendation

Storycode is an original way to find new books to read. Unlike the majority of other sites that get book recommendations for you, this site does not give you books based on other people’s preferences. Instead it has a more scientific way to find books you’d like. Each book is ‘coded’ based on a large number of characteristics, including number of characters, ease of reading and importance of plot. It then compares all books that have already been coded into the system and comes up with suggestions of similar books to read. I have had great success with it, and read many books that I may otherwise not have come across.


One of my favourite books is Ingenious Pain by Andrew Miller. This book isn’t very well known, so wasn’t in the system. I ‘coded’ it myself, which took about 10 – 15 minutes, answering a large number of questions using a sliding scale. When finished it suggested that A Kestrel for a Knave  by Barry Hines was the best match. I have just finished reading it, and loved it. This is about the fifth book, that I have found, and loved using storycode. I cannot recommend this site highly enough!

14 replies on “Story Code – Website Recommendation”

This guy got owned on dragons den, 9/10 online sales are made from Amazon, so why would anyone be interested in hearing the data from a much smaller pool of opinions?

He also came across as slightly arrogant and childish.
I just checked the progress of this idea and the website is offline so I’m guessing it amounted to nothing.

I’m really sad to learn that storycode isn’t working. I hope it is only for a short time. I love storycode. It works very differently from all the other sites, and so gives very different suggestions on which books to read. Amazon recommends books based on other peoples purchases, so the results are very predictable. As someone who reads a lot of books I like the different suggestions storycode makes. It has given me many great books that I would never have picked up otherwise.

I know that the Dragons rejected it, and I can see why – it is never going to make millions of pounds, but that doesn’t stop it from being a great site. I hope it returns soon.

Dave – It is too complicated to be added to Amazon’s site. It needs its own website. I really hope it comes back soon.

Unfortunately I don’t work for the company. I’d love to though, so if the owners are out there please get in touch!!!

Jackie – as a website programmer myself I can assure you that StoryCode could be duplicated very easily by Amazon, quite probably within 72 hours. That probably sounds shocking to you, but the fact is that StoryCode is simplistic in its programming, and the reason it works is because of the data plumbed into it by its users. There’s no massive cleverness in the code at all.

With this in mind, why don’t Amazon do it – simple, it doesn’t make them money. The reason they make recommendations on what other people bought (which is predictable) is that ultimately it is sales and profit-driven. Recommending good books based on content is not as profitable as recommending famous books or books that are already selling. That’s an industry fact.

StoryCode would actually be better placed possibly linking into Public Libraries and similar, because it’s just not profit-driven enough to appeal to the retail sector in a large enough way to earn the people running it a wage. The fact is that Amazon is already hurting high-street book stores when retail stores are in a credit-crunch scenario.

For what it’s worth I think StoryCode is a great idea… just unfortunately not a very profitable one.

Hi Matt!

I realise it is very easy to set up, but I’m sad that all the effort that went into coding all the books on the site has been lost. That took lots of people several years to build up.

I don’t think Amazon should add it, it needs to be in a site of its own. I agree that it would be great in libraries. I really hope that it comes back some how.

Amazon wont do it – it’s not profitable enough for them. Amazon is about selling books, pure and simple – they have no more interest in the content than a salesman in a department store has in white goods. Amazon are not a threat to StoryCode on anything other than a barrier to revenue.

The frightening thing with Amazon is that they have such a massive financial resource – they could easily pump £250’000 into people writing reviews and build up a massive database – they just wont, because ultimately it wont increase their sales – they have 87% of the market and take 40% of the cover price – they have it made!

Ultimately, StoryCode exists because of a love of books, not a love of profits.

I’m sure there is a backup of the book data, and the code. Perhaps that information itself could be sold? If it’s truely gone, then that’s just foolish – information like that could potentially have other informations – a version of MySpace for book lovers for example?

I don’t want Amazon to do it! I don’t think it would sit well on their site or make financial sense.

I’m sure it could be done profitably for an indivdual, if only through Amazon click through affiliate links. I’d do it! If only for the love of books!

Hi Dario!
Take a look around my blog! All the books I’ve read are here, you’ll soon see the type of things I like.

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