With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, Penguin has brought back the Penguin Hotline. Loosely modeled on the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, which provides turkey-roasting help over the phone during the holiday season, the Penguin Hotline offers personalized book recommendations over the Internet. Book buyers fill out a simple online form, describing the reading preferences and hobbies of the person for whom they're buying a book and then receive an e-mail with recommendations put together by Penguin staff members. The Penguin Hotline is publisher-agnostic--books from all publishing houses will be up for recommendation.
The Penguin Hotline launched two years ago and within days reportedly received more than 1,500 requests from readers across the globe. Some of the requests the hotline volunteers have fielded in the past include books for a father interested in conspiracy theories and aliens; a cousin interested in shrimp farming; a friend going through a breakup; and one from a woman wanting to know what book she should buy for the man who bagged her groceries.