Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bookish launches, backed by major publishers including Hachette Book Group, Penguin and Simon & Schuster

Backed by three of the largest book publishers, Hachette Book Group, Penguin and Simon & Schuster, the book recommendation website Bookish has finally launched after a long delay. Sixteen other publishers are also involved in Bookish, including Random House, Scholastic, HarperCollins and Perseus Books Group. In essence, Bookish is an industry owned and operated website designed to drive direct sales.

"Today’s launch is a banner moment for readers, authors and publishers alike," said Carolyn Reidy, CEO at Simon & Schuster. "Bookish utilizes the publishers’ deep knowledge of our titles together with cutting edge technology to help readers make informed choices, and we look forward to growing and evolving the site in the service of helping readers find books."

But the launch of site, long delayed following its initial announcement in May of 2011, doesn't appear 100 percent up to speed. Links on books take readers to pages where the can, in theory buy the titles, but many of the books are listed as "not in stock". Where the books are in stock, prices are discounted at what one might call Amazon.com levels. Most titles offer both paperback and hardcover versions, as well as audio books and in many cases eBooks, as well.

But now launched Bookish has its own editorial team that will update the website daily and provide content on books and authors, opinion pieces and the like. But at its core are the books. Each title will have its own page and readers can buy the books directly. Authors, too, will have special pages.

"Bookish was created to serve as a champion of books, writers and, most importantly, readers," said Ardy Khazaei, CEO of Bookish in the launch announcement. "Ultimately, we seek to expand the overall marketplace for books, and whether a book gets into a reader’s hands via Bookish’s e- commerce partner or another retailer, everyone–from the publisher, to the retailer, the author and the reader–wins."

No doubt that readers won't be the only ones looking closely at Bookish. Regulators, having recently gone after Apple and the book publishers with claims of price fixing, will be watching.

"We received clearance for Bookish, but every time any of us talk about something we have to conform to the DOJ rules," Hachette Book Group CEO David Young told the AP. "We aren't behaving any differently than we were before, we just have to make sure that formal procedures are followed, like writing up a log after any meeting."