On Friday, May 6, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group (USA), and Simon & Schuster announced plans to launch Bookish (www.bookish.com), a new digital platform for readers, sometime this summer. In a press release, the publishers said Bookish is “designed to provide readers – from the most casual to the most dedicated – with a personalized experience connecting them with their favorite authors and books through original editorial features, unique tools, and more.”
Visitors to the Bookish website will have the ability to purchase print and digital books from a variety of publishers directly from the Bookish website or through other retailers, according to the company’s press release. “Bookish is dedicated to working closely with book retailers,” the company said, “and in the coming weeks will reach out to explore ways to complement the retailers’ efforts and enhance all reader experiences.” The site will allow consumers to recommend books to friends.
In response to Friday’s announcement, the American Booksellers Association issued the following statement:
Based on preliminary conversations with the publishers that have created Bookish, we are very interested in learning more to help determine if the newly announced initiative can be structured in a way to support independent bookstores. We are always interested in building stronger partnerships, and to the degree that Bookish complements what indie stores do, we would welcome such an opportunity. To the degree that it competes with what indie stores do, we are troubled. Additional discussions about future plans for Bookish have been scheduled.
Bookish is headed by CEO Paulo Lemgruber, who previously developed and ran digital businesses for Comcast and Reed Elsevier. Other members of the Bookish management team include Editor-in-Chief Charlie Rogers, Chief Technology Officer Andy Parsons, and Director of Product Brad Dickason.
“In addition to working with Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group (USA) and Simon & Schuster,” Lemgruber said in a statement, “we look forward to working with the entire publishing and book-selling community to make Bookish an exciting destination that will delight readers.”
Bookish will promote itself through a partnership with AOL Huffington Post Media Group, which will feature Bookish content on its destination sites. AOL will also sell ads for the new venture.