Barnes and Noble Reveals Book Graph and SmartGift

Book Graph

Barnes and Noble recently released two very different apps, in anticipation of the holiday season.

The first one is Book Graph, an interactive discovery tool that gives customers an innovative way to find book recommendations. You first click on the listed titles and Book Graph gives you a list of recommendations, a “graph”of titles with possible connections with the title you selected. Also, if you select a book that is “on the matrix”, you not only get the book’s details but you generate another graph of recommended titles.

This is a useful tool, especially for the holiday season and it does give more titles compared to the “Customers Also Bought…”algorithm. However, I feel a the family tree like graph might deter people and they would prefer the old fashion way.

SmartGiftThe other app is SmartGift. SmartGift is a fancy version of a gift receipt. It allows a customer to send a gift stress-free. You select an item that you want to send to a recipient. Then the recipient has the choice to either accept the gift or exchange it for something else before you complete the purchase. Once they make their final selection, you just pay for it and will ship it to them.

Although useful and innovative and contemporary idea, this app does take away the element of surprise and takes the beauty of gift-giving. Also, if you are trying to get customers to shop in-store more, wouldn’t this slow it down?

This appears to also be very limited in what books or items you can “SmartGift”. It looks like you can only choose from the list that is given. If you search for a particular title, there is no option to use “SmartGift”, only shows the Book Graph. I understand that if have a particular title in mind, you don’t need to use the app, but this limitation may prove to be fatal flaw in Barnes and Noble’s holiday plans.

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