Blackwell's has partnered with publishing tech firm Jellybooks to showcase six debuts via an interactive window display at the chain's flagship Oxford store.
People walking past the Broad Street shop can scan QR codes in the window display and get a first look at the titles with a single click. Readers outside Oxford can access the books and many others via Jellybooks' new cloud platform Discovery, which features excerpts and audiobook snippets.
Discovery enables readers to “peek inside” titles on the websites of bookshops in a similar way to Amazon's “look inside” feature. Readers can then purchase the book they have previewed directly from an individual bookseller.
Blackwell's booksellers have selected six debuts, including Glasgow underworld thriller Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison (Macmillan), Fragile Monsters by Catherine Menon (Viking) and Karachi Vice by Samira Shackle (Granta). Also featuring are The Manningtree Witches by A K Blakemore (Granta), The Nightingale by Sam Lee (Century) and Regeneration by Andrew Painting (Birlinn).
Rebecca MacAlister, area manager at Blackwell’s in Oxford, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Jellybooks to bring our customers Discovery. One of the special joys of bookselling is seeing a customer pick up a book, open it and become immersed in it, before taking it to the till. We can’t get people back into the shop to re-create that moment yet, but this innovation means we can now offer a flavour of the content of a book through your screen, wherever you are in the world.”
Andrew Rhomberg, c.e.o. of Jellybooks, added: “Discovering new writers and books is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and creating Discovery has been a major ambition of ours. We’re delighted that we can launch the platform with six fantastic debut titles that we know readers will be excited to find out more about, and we are so thankful to Blackwell’s and our launch partner publishers for helping make this dream come true during lockdown.
“By offering the functionality to browse books on a phone, tablet or computer and then purchase them directly from a local bookshop, we hope that Discovery will not only inspire readers but help booksellers recover after such a difficult time. We encourage every reader to visit the Blackwell’s website today, browse all the great books on offer and use the opportunity for a peek inside to discover their next read.”