Bookish is a new digital initiative that hopes to be "the new digital destination for readers" (PR Newswire). Scheduled to launch this summer, Bookish will be an online space where readers can come to not only buy books, but also give and get recommendations to one another, as well as receive entertaining and educational book content. The project is being headed by a team of media, digital, and tech-savvy veterans from a variety of industries:
NEW YORK, May 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Bookish (www.bookish.com), a new digital platform for readers, is set to launch this summer it was announced today. Backed by Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group (USA), and Simon & Schuster, Bookish has been 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. The AOL Huffington Post Media Group is partnering with the site to engage users with Bookish content across the network's wide range of destination sites; AOL will provide advertising sales support for the new venture.
Editorially independent, Bookish will be a place for readers to find great content about books and authors from a variety of publishers. Bookish will highlight a wide range of genres and allow readers to find their next book as well as recommend books to each other.
New media veteran Paulo Lemgruber is leading the effort as Bookish's CEO. Previously, Lemgruber developed and ran digital businesses for Comcast and Reed Elsevier. Also part of the Bookish team is Charlie Rogers, who will serve as Editor-in-Chief. Prior to becoming part of Bookish, Rogers was Editor-in-Chief, Digital Media at NBC Universal and worked at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and The Paris Review. Technology efforts will be directed by Bookish Chief Technology Officer Andy Parsons, who previously served as CTO for Outside.in and Digital Railroad, Inc., as well as Director of Software Development at Juice Software. Bookish's Director of Product in charge of the user experience is Brad Dickason who previously sold a company, Giant Realm, to Burst Media and then served as their Director, Creative Products and Services. He is also a former competitive video gamer.
"Bookish enjoys the support of significant, established players in the publishing and online space. Nobody is more intimately familiar with the multitude of elements that make a book appealing than its publisher," explained Lemgruber. "In addition to working with Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group (USA) and Simon & Schuster, we look forward to working with the entire publishing and book-selling community to make Bookish an exciting destination that will delight readers. We are also thrilled to work closely with AOL Huffington Post Media Group to tap into its groundbreaking ability to start real-time conversations around content and partnering with AOL on our advertising sales effort."
Said Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of AOL Huffington Post Media Group, "As a lifelong book lover -- and reading evangelist -- I'm always on the lookout for innovative ways to get people excited about books, to remind them why they are so important, and to spark a thousand conversations around big issues, fun ideas and great writing. That's why we're delighted to be working with Bookish -- and to use our multimedia, social, and community engagement tools to help connect our readers with authors and their books. And we'll highlight this content through our entire network and hyperlocal sites."
Designed to answer the question "What should I read next?" as well as to deepen the reading experience around books, authors and genres, Bookish will feature exclusive content covering a wide selection of titles and formats. It will also offer readers the convenience of purchasing print and digital books directly or through other retailers. Bookish is dedicated to working closely with book retailers, and in the coming weeks will reach out to explore ways to complement the retailers' efforts and enhance all reader experiences.
"We've assembled an incredibly entrepreneurial and dynamic team at Bookish that embraces the most cutting-edge trends in publishing and technology," says Lemgruber. "With our team's startup expertise and credentials, as well as our ability to leverage the knowledge of publishers, retailers and authors, Bookish is innately positioned to fuel people's passion for books."
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I'm interested to see what the industry response is to this one. While some people are sure to find it innovative and exciting (my personal take), others (possibly booksellers in the majority) are bound to be just a tiny bit peeved.
Don't get me wrong, I love bookstores and it saddens me more than I can say every time one closes. I even had a dream of owning a store myself one day, a dream that I've come to recognize as increasingly unrealistic in today's (and tomorrow's) marketplace. How I see it is that in this constantly evolving industry, we all have to find new ways to keep fostering a love of reading, no matter how it's done.