Penguin Random House (PRH) has announced it will close its consumer book recommendation site My Independent Bookshop ahead of the launch of its new website next year.
PRH launched My Independent Bookshop in May 2014 as a social platform that allowed readers to set up ‘virtual bookshops’, where they could share their favourite reads and review books online. The site also encouraged users to buy books through Hive, the Gardners website that allows shoppers to buy books online and collect them from independent bookshops.
In an email sent to subscribers, PRH said: “On 21st December 2015, we’ll be closing our doors in preparation for moving into the brand new www.penguin.co.uk in the New Year. Here you’ll be able to find information on all Penguin Random House books and authors, as well as read regularly published articles on all things books.”
The Bookseller understands that PRH's analytics showed users found authors’ recommendations and reviews most interesting and useful on the My Independent Bookshop website and the publisher plans to re-purpose and re-use authors’ book selections and reviews, where appropriate, on its new website, which will also feature other exclusive curated news and features on readers' favourite authors.
“We have had an amazing amount of support from everyone we’ve worked with, from independent bookshops, authors , publishers and of course you – our virtual bookshop owners," the publisher added. "Together you made the My Independent Bookshop community a vibrant place to show off our latest literary loves and discuss the books that meant something to us.”
PRH also revealed that more than 20,000 books were listed on My Independent Bookshop during its time in operation, and some of the most recommended titles were The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (Penguin) and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Black Swan).
Last year independent booksellers told The Bookseller they were supportive of the service.
Marie Telford, owner of The Hayling Island Bookshop, said: “This new site is a great way for people to share their favourite books online and we also hope that many of them will come and visit us in person too.”
Sheila O’Reilly, owner of Dulwich Books in South London, said she hoped the online profile would help the shop to extend its reach and build a new community beyond London.