Former Waitrose m.d. launches new online bookstore

Former Waitrose m.d. launches new online bookstore

British businessman and former Waitrose m.d. Lord Mark Price has launched an online bookstore with Gardners as part of a new website aspiring to be "the Netflix for the business world".

The Business Library, which is being hosted on Price's Engaging Works platform, will stock tens of thousands of business books thanks to its partnership with Gardners. Customers will be able to buy books in paper, e- and audio format, choosing from approximately 80,000+ "competitively priced" titles. And, if they are a premium subscriber to Engaging Works and its services – which extends to career development, messaging and recruitment services – they will be eligible to an extra 10% discount. 

In addition to stocking published books, the Business Library website also intends to host user-generated content, such as articles, lectures, podcasts and research. The idea is to enable users to create their own tailor-made library ("My Library") pulling together information and insight from a range of different sources, including books they purchase on the platform.

According to Price, the online bookshop will comprise "any book that people might need in their business lives" and collaborating with Gardners, with whom he already had a working relationship having run Waitrose, will enable it to offer "the broadest possible range" as its supplier.

Nigel Wyman, head of business development at Gardners, said: "When we were approached by Lord Mark Price we were excited by the opportunity it presented to wider business community. It enables them to obtain both physical and digital book content from a single curated range in one easy to navigate place. We look forward to working with Lord Price long into the future."

Engaging Works' userbase is 40,000 strong and, although predominantly based in the UK, it is global with users hailing from 120 countries in total. As part of the experience the company asks users to complete a Workplace Happiness Survey when they join, off the back of which it is then able to recommend books and other resources it thinks its users will find useful, either crystalising their thinking in target areas or helping them to improve on certain aspects of their jobs and careers.

"Our goal is to give people and to build the largest business library in the world, both from books you can purchase and from people self-publishing on the site," Price told The Bookseller.  "What we are trying to do is to give people the best possible advice to get the most from their working life."

He added: "With more than 80,000 books, e-books and audio books along with user generated content including articles, lectures, podcast and research we hope to become the Netflix for the business world."

After working to build the site for the last two years, the business now has roughly 45 staff, working across tech, content and marketing roles. Immediate plans for the year ahead are to accelerate the expansion of its database and scaling up to further establish the site as the "go to" for business resource and information.

Most recently, on top of launching the new online bookshop, Price has released a new podcast called "Meet the Business Author". Guests have so far included Damaged Goods author Oliver Shah (Portfolio Penguin) and Christine Armstrong, author behind The Mother of All Jobs (Green Tree).