By Hannah Bennett
There’s a new book retailer in town, and by “town,” of course, I mean online. Bookish, the long-anticipated book retail website, was launched this week after several years of development. And while the website is a retailer, it aims to be much more—a book recommendation engine, a repository for book information, and a source of news and articles related to the book industry.
One of the most highly touted aspects of the site is a book recommendation engine, which is powered by book metadata, reviews, and editor suggestions. Users simply enter the name of a book they enjoyed, and the site gives them several recommendations. Since the website also hosts marketing information about the recommended books, an e-commerce feature, and links to other retailers, the intention is to make it as easy as possible to find (and buy) your next great read.
Bookish is backed by three of the “big six” publishers—Hachette, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster. The site also has partnerships with USA Today and The Onion. They hope that these partnerships, along with a variety of articles and original content on the site, will help attract new users. As everyone in publishing knows, discoverability is key, and Bookish is an effort to expand the book market and make products easier to discover.
As a retailer, of course, Bookish faces tough competition from behemoths such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And like any new website, there are bound to be kinks. But Bookish is notable as one of the largest efforts from the big six publishers to directly compete in the e-retail game, and it will be important for the industry to take note of its successes and challenges.
How do you think Bookish will fare in this competitive and evolving market?