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Book site Bookish launches

Book retail website Bookish has launched, featuring content including book recommendations, extracts, articles by a dedicated editorial staff, and partnerships with the Onion and USA Today which are aimed at driving readers to the site.

The initiative is backed by Hachette, Penguin and Simon & Schuster in the US. Users can sign up to receive newsletters, book and author news and create personal bookshelves, and share content over social media and email.

The recommendation engine on the site is fed by Bookish editors, authors, book editors and publishers.

The site includes links to the book sale pages of major booksellers including Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Apple, as well as offering books for sale directly.

Bookish was initially announced in May 2011, but has been subject to numerous launch delays, as well as doubts from the industry, and a series of leadership changes. Paulo Lemgruber was the initial c.e.o. of the company, with Caroline Marks succeeding him after 18 months, in October 2011. Ardy Khazaei then took over from Marks. 

The three major publishers behind the initiative are also joined by 16 other publishers, including HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan and Random House, as well as Harlequin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Scholastic. These publishers are contributing ONIX feeds, content and supplementary materials.

Hachette Book Group c.e.o. David Young told the Associated Press that the project—which sees publishers working together after the founding partners negotiated settlements with the Department of Justice over alleged collusion—had received government clearance, "but every time any of us talk about something we have to conform to the DOJ rules". He added: "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."

Khazaei said the site aimed to make more media partnerships, such as that with USA Today, and said it hoped to "enable a recommendation module on other people's web pages" shortly too.