Reading Radar — Some Caveats

Since I posted about Reading Radar, the mashup of the NYT bestseller lists and Amazon’s listings, I’ve been exploring it a bit more and discovered a few of things you need to be aware of:

  • Reading Radar is out of phase with the lists on the NYT site. Right now, RR is showing the lists from the week before. This isn’t clear, because RR doesn’t indicate the date of the lists they are using.
  • Reading Radar displays a set number of titles. The length of the NYT lists vary by category and there’s a distinction between the main list and the extended list. RR makes it appear that all the lists are twenty titles or fewer and makes no distinction between what is on the main lists and what is on the extended.
  • Reading Radar displays an Amazon widget, which suggests titles according to your profile. This can be either be annoying, or make for amusing guessing games (WHY are they recommending Slim Jims to me? I’ve never eaten Slim Jims in my life).

It’s still a handy device for staff who want to stay familiar with the covers and descriptions of popular titles, which is why we’ve posted the link under Best Seller Lists on the right (“New York Times — Reading Radar”). It’s also a great example of a mashup. Let me know if any of you have figured out how to mashup the bestseller list and your library’s catalog.

One Response to “Reading Radar — Some Caveats”

  1. Grace Says:

    We use the Bookletters service which includes the NYT bestseller lists and links them up with images and a catalog link. Here’s the fiction list – http://www.booksite.com/texis/scripts/bookletter/showfab.html?sid=5529&qlname=NLBFH. Yes, we pay for the service, but customers can get the list by email or by RSS.