The above is a freshly-released video for Small Demons, which is a disarmingly slick contender in the discoverability race. Small Demons is a database built on indexed books that expands based on crowd-sourced indexing of the things within these books—everything from gadgets to food to historical events. As is helpfully explained by Adam Lisagor above, they see every book as a collection of details and these details as collections of stories in themselves.
Small Demons is in the business of generating data. They get EPUB files from publishers (and use ONIX!) and give publishers back dynamic feeds and EPUBs marked up with newly sourced metadata from their website. If you’re all “Holy canoli!” then you are correct. There is much opportunity and advantage in being freed from “the tyranny of the ‘like’” as Richard Nash, Small Demons’ VP of Content and Community, put it when he talked to BNC about the potential uses of Small Demons data. The site is currently in beta with about 150 books but they will increase indexing to the rate of 50 books a day in the coming weeks. They plan on opening their API next year.
User-side, Small Demons pitches itself as a better, more serendipitous alternative to algorithmic discovery based on popularity. They offer a discovery tool that isn’t limited by a shared taste in books but extends to and links innumerable other interests with books and with each other. A rabbit-hole search that’s fun to go on because it both feeds on and nourishes your obsessive-compulsive cataloging of cultural points of reference.
You can apply for an invite to the Small Demons beta site here.