BookBrowse General Information Pages: About BookBrowse

About BookBrowse

Hello and Welcome to BookBrowse!

BookBrowse is an online magazine for booklovers - including reviews, previews, "behind the book" backstories, author interviews, reading guides, and much more.

We believe that exceptional books do more than just tell good stories - they leave you mentally richer than when you started them. BookBrowse seeks out these gems from both established writers and first time authors - novels that whisk you to unfamiliar times and places, thrillers that are more than just 'page-turners', and thought-provoking non-fiction that entertains as it informs.

If you'd like to know more about BookBrowse, and how we got started, please read on. If you're ready to start browsing, take your pick of the menu options at the top of the page!

Davina & Paul Morgan-Witts - Founders

The BookBrowse Story

The Beginning: Online Excerpts - a Novel Concept!

In the years BC (before children) one of our greatest pleasures was going together to browse the shelves in the bookstore or library, taking our time to pick out books that looked interesting and browsing a few pages to decide which we wanted to take home. But after the arrival of our two children, relaxed visits to anything other than the kid's section became rare.

Back in 1997, we arrived home from a far from relaxing visit to the bookstore (because the four year old wanted to go off exploring and the two year old decided that an afternoon nap wasn't on the agenda after all). Surely, we thought, there must be another way, and perhaps this new fangled thing called the world wide web was the answer? So, we dialed up our internet connection and started to search for information on books - but it was so limited - usually all that was available was the description from the back of the book.

We asked ourselves, why can't we browse through a few pages of a book online just as we can in the bookstore or library? And, finding we couldn't, we resolved to create a website that would bring booklovers excerpts of books. But that was just the start...


"Excerpts from the best books for sale now,
giving you a simulation of the old time experience.
And we're not talking teensy fragments."
- Yahoo Incredibly Useful Site of The Day



Multiple Reviews In One Place

Being able to read a few pages of a book is a must, but it's also interesting to see what others are saying, so we gather together every review we can find about a book we're featuring, and abbreviate each to its salient point of view (removing all that irritating plot detail, and more often than not spoilers) - so that you can see what the mainstream media are saying about each book at a quick glance. Of course, the media aren't the only ones with opinions worth hearing, so visitors can write their own reviews as well.


"Offers lengthy excerpts from select popular and literary titles"
- San Francisco Chronicle Best of the Web



Browse the Best - Ignore the Rest!

Fast forward to 2000. The internet was growing exponentially, as was the number of books published - far more than anyone could read, or even read about! So we became increasingly selective about the books we listed - only featuring books that we could wholeheartedly stand behind.

For a book to capture our interest, then and now, it needs to go beyond just telling a good story, it needs to give us a window to explore the lives of others or a mirror to reflect on our own - so, when we finish it we know something about the world or ourselves we didn't before. Such books can't be contained within restrictive boundaries so we feature books from a wide range of genres, both fiction and nonfiction.


"I joined BookBrowse because I wanted to carve out a literary lens
past my comfort zones, digging into stories that would challenge
my mind and endear my heart." - Marjorie



Another First: Reviews and Beyond the Book

Although initially we didn't review books ourselves, we found ourselves frustrated with many of the reviews written by the mainstream media - sometimes they'd be all plot and no opinion, other times it would seem that the reviewer was more interested in showing us how clever he or she was than actually helping us decide which books we wanted to read. So when we started to write our own reviews, we decided to focus less on plot and much more on the characters, themes, writing style and overall experience of reading the book - always with the aim of helping you decide if it's right for you!

Because we read to explore, we would often find ourselves turning the last page of the book and wanting to investigate things we'd just read about. So, in addition to reviewing books, we go "beyond the book" to explore topics from the book and to answer questions we have after reading it. Happily, we've that we aren't alone in enjoying such tangents and that a great many readers also enjoy going "beyond the book". So we include one for every book we feature. Members tell us they enjoy reading these "beyond the book" articles whether they've read the book in question or not. In fact, many will read the beyond the book articles even when they have no particular interest in the book itself because the articles stand along as interesting pieces of writing. We also include an interview with the author, whenever possible, so you can hear from the writers in their own words.


"Hot Website for Book Lovers!" - Woman's World



The Little Engine That Could

From the start we decided we didn't want to sell books because doing so might skew the books we chose to feature to those destined to sell the most copies which, to be frank, are often not the books that we think are the best. We also made a decision to not accept payments to review books as we never wanted to feel under pressure to write a more positive review than was warranted. To this day we have remained independent, without affiliation to any publisher or bookseller, and without any investors pushing us in directions we're not comfortable with. You will see links on BookBrowse to buy books. These are for the convenience of our visitors - the modest commission that is generated from them is donated to charity.


"BookBrowse gets an 'A' for easy-to-use info and smart advice,
the armchair version of browsing your favorite bookstore."
- Family Circle Magazine



"I'm Looking For a Book About..."

BookBrowse is constantly evolving to meet the needs of you, our readers. As we grew we found we were inundated with questions such as "I've read this book, what should I read next?" and "I'm looking for a book about..."

To answer the first question our reviewers and editors work together to handpick "if you like this, try these" suggestions - so that you can look up over 3000 books and 2000 authors and find "readalike" suggestions to other books that are likely to give you that same rush of pleasure as the first. And you don't have to take our recommendations at face value, because you can browse an excerpt of each book to help you decide if it's the one for you.

We answer the second question by categorizing every book we've featured by genre, time period, setting, and by a wide range of themes - so whether you're interested in reading about a foreign locale, want to explore a particular time period, or have an interest in any one of our many other themes, you can find a range of carefully selected recommended reading to meet your interests.


"I have to tell you when I finally found BookBrowse,
after flimsy sites with little to no information,
I swear a light shone down on my monitor, and angels begin to sing!" - Angela



"What Notable Books are Publishing Soon?"

Avid readers are insatiable! When we aren't being asked what to read next we're being asked about books publishing soon - especially by our many visitors who borrow books from the library and want to be at the top of the wait list! So we preview books ahead of publication, gathering together snippets from all the available prepublication reviews so you can see what people are saying. We preview about 100 books a month. This is a fraction of those that publish, because we're not interested in telling you about every book, just the good ones!


"BookBrowse is the first website I've come across that's exactly what it should be -
it's just easy to find what I want, when I want it.
I think you've done a spectacular job! Keep up the good work!" - Lin



Free Books!

If there's one thing better than knowing what's publishing soon, it's getting to read the books ahead of the crowd - and not just any books but the books that are likely to be the talk of the town in the coming months. We work with more than a dozen publishers to bring our members early copies of notable books publishing soon, so that they can read and review them - for free! Most members who participate receive a book about once every three months.


"I just want to thank everyone at BookBrowse for the absolute best
website for book information. You guys really rock!" - Betsy



"What Should My Book Club Read?"

Over half of BookBrowse's visitors are in a book club, and almost one in five of you are in two or more book clubs! BookBrowse provides loads of book club recommendations, each backed by a reading guide and an excerpt (of course!), and categorized by time period, setting and theme - so you can find just the right book for your club whatever interests the group might have.

We also host our own book club discussions that are open to all visitors, giving away free books to about 50 people ahead of each discussion. And we offer advice on starting and running a book club.


"Once I discovered BookBrowse all of my 'picks' are from
your lists and recommendations. Thank you for making it so easy
for me, and others in our club, to make great choices easily." - Kim



The BookBrowse Review Magazine

We gather together everything that's new on BookBrowse into our twice-monthly online magazine, The BookBrowse Review. Here members can find the latest reviews, previews, backstories, book related news, recommendations for book clubs, author interviews and more. If you like to have a one stop location for all that's new this is the place to go.


"I really enjoy your magazine - it runs rings around the
ones from publishers and other sites." - Barbara



Browse for Free or Enjoy Full Access for Less Than $3 a Month

Each month many hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy BookBrowse's expansive free content; with many thousands subscribing to our free email newsletter. But those who want full access to all that we offer, and appreciate the value of a truly independent source of reviews and information about the world of books, become members for $9.95 for 3 months or $35 for a full year.



"I am a book addict who loves BookBrowse.
I have canceled all my other book review subscriptions." - Philip

"BookBrowse would be a bargain at twice the price." - Karen


Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.