Alexa Now Offers Personalized Reading Recommendations
Alexa will now suggest books you might enjoy reading when asked. The new feature turns the voice assistant into a kind of librarian, listening to what you might be interested in and sharing what’s popular in a conversation that ends with some ideas from Amazon’s more than 20 million print, digital, and audio titles.
Dewey Decimal Alexa
Owners of any device with access to Alexa in the U.S. can start the discussion about a good book to read by asking, “Alexa, what should I read next?” The voice assistant then shares a book title, the author, and the reason for the recommendation. Alexa might ask the user about particular genres and authors they like, too, pulling further suggestions, and can list the best-selling and most popular books at the moment. Alexa will provide other insight into the books as well, including summaries, ratings by other readers, and editorial reviews. For audiobooks, Alexa can play a snippet of the recording. Once the user decides on a book, they can ask Alexa to purchase it for them if it’s in the Kindle or Audible store. If it’s an audiobook, the voice assistant can start playing the recording as soon as the purchase is complete.
“The feature is another example of the many ways Alexa is becoming more conversational and natural to interact with,” an Amazon spokesperson told Voicebot in an email. “And, it’s particularly useful for consumers who are now reading more while at home due to COVID-19.”
The literary guidance expands the variety of recommendations Alexa can offer to users lately. Ahead of the recent Prime Day sale, the voice assistant shared ideas on gifts people could buy at a discount, for example. The audiobooks aspect also ties into Amazon’s interest in boosting its audio streaming presence. The company recently launched free podcast feeds for Amazon Music and Audible subscribers on its devices. As Amazon cited, the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis has spurred demand for entertainment, whether in book form or as audio content, especially podcasts. It’s also likely part of what prompted the new and expanded features for Amazon Kids+, the premium version of the recently renamed Freetime service. Regular smart speakers, as well as the tiger and panda bear variants of the new Echo Dot Kids Edition also offer the Reading Sidekick feature that turns Alexa into a reading tutor that takes turns reading a book with the child.