Penguin Random House UK has launched My Independent Bookshop - a consumer book recommendation website.
The social platform encourages readers to set up their own virtual bookshops to share their favourite reads as well as discover, recommend and review books online.
PRH’s digital publisher Dan Franklin launched the platform in closed beta yesterday (8th April) at the Digital Minds Conference in London’s QEII Conference Centre.
Hannah Telfer, group director of consumer & digital development at the company, said: “People are becoming ever more sophisticated in the way they move between their social, digital and physical worlds. We want to harness the opportunities this creates to celebrate the power of human recommendation. By giving people the magical experience of curating their own bookshop and sharing this with their communities we are putting the discovery of great books and authors – no matter who they are published by – directly into the hands of book lovers.”
The initiative was inspired from PRH’s 3,500 strong consumer panel, Bookmarks, which said recommendation was the main way they discovered books.
Readers can buy the titles they see on My Independent Bookshop profiles through Hive, the e-commerce arm of Gardners wholesalers, which is connected to 350 independent bookshops in the UK. Users can choose their favourite real-world independent bookshop to connect with when they register and bookshops will receive a minimum of 5% commission on book orders and 8% on e-books orders.
Transworld author Terry Pratchett has praised the way the platform will support independent bookshops. He said: “Independent bookshops supported this jobbing genre author long before the geeks were let out of their wardrobes, being able to support these talented retail wizards through ‘My Independent Bookshop’ is a very, very good thing.”
Sheila’s O’ Reilly from Dulwich Books in London has also supported the venture and has created a virtual bookshop profile which reflects “the magic” of her real-world shop in London. She said: “My Independent Bookshop is going to give us the ability to display and review titles, reach a wider audience and sell books at the same time.”
PRH will invite select authors and book fans to join the community and start creating their shops before it launches to the public.