[I post this only because it seems different / more uniquely suited than previous questions regarding books.]

Developers read books. Lots of 'em, and they often refer to or discuss books they read in the course of their work and personal lives.

My thought: Stack overflow has a giant tags list. Why not utilize that to bridge into books on the topic or books that could be reasonably tagged with that topic? The book list could be commented on ("reviewed") and up- or down-voted according to user preference.

Potential benefits:

  • Uses already existing system of tags
  • Users can see what the most qualified books are on a subject (according to a community or people working within the realm of that tag).
  • Potential SO revenue in the form of book referrals (I imagine Amazon could line up some pretty sweet integration, and publishers of e-books would do the same)
  • Books could be suggested to users who ask a lot of questions within a specific tag.
  • Taking it further, SO could re-define how books are considered. I imagine reviews potentially split into insightful questions that could add real value, such as:
    • "This book made me think harder about:"
    • "This book is great for people with a focus on: "
    • "I thought this book left out or didn't cover enough of: "
    • "Something this book enabled me to do that I couldn't before: "
  • An insightful tool for authors as they work to connect directly to their audience
  • An insightful tool for publishers as they may be looking to invest in a certain area of expertise. Imagine someone being able to say "hmm, doesn't look like there's a book for that subject that everyone loves", or "there clearly is already a bible in this area; let's focus on a specialized subset instead." Instead of targeting advertising, you can help target knowledge.
  • But now that I think of it, I'm sure targeted advertising would benefit too. Competitors would probably love to show up on a list of lower-ranked books.

The end result is very much in line with what I think SE's core mission is, which is to educate people in the most empowering way -- by applying thoughtful constraints and empowering community to great minds.

Thanks for considering.

1 Answer 1


I think that SE already has all/most of this, albeit in a slightly different fashion:

  • Book recommendations via tags

Each tag has (or should have) a tag wiki. If you go to some of the more commonly-used tags, you'll see they often contain links to books the community recommends (example: c#) or links to book recommendation questions (examples: c, c++).

  • Amazon kickbacks

These already exist—SE has the ability to rewrite Amazon links on the fly to include their referral code (further recommended reading: Our Amazon Advertising Experiment).

  • Advertising opportunities for publishers

I strongly agree that publishers should consider purchasing advertising on SE (and not only because I have a very strong financial interest in that happening). But the sad fact is that tech publishers are hurting these days—and even back in the glory days, they rarely bought ad space.

But anyone who is interested is more than welcome to click on the advertising info link at the bottom of every page.

  • I agree - it seems like SE already has enough to cover the requested use cases. Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 7:03

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