Two different companies met up with Good e-Reader at this year’s BookExpo with similar goals in mind: help their uses find more time to read and connect with other readers. The platforms, Shebooks and Librify, have very different and unique platforms and processes, but both serve to meet the needs of busy readers. While Shebooks accomplishes this goal through high-quality ebook-shorts written for and by women and are meant to be read in a small time frame, Librify is taking our busy schedules and helping us find time to connect socially around the content.
“We are launching our ebook retail platform and membership service targeting book clubs,” explained Librify co-founder and CEO Joanna Stone Herman in an interview with Good e-REader. “One of the things that excites me about what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to reach a very underserved market of book clubs and women who would like a book club-like experience. I know a lot women for whom book clubs are an important part of their life. People are really trying to find time to read.”
Stone Herman’s timing couldn’t be better. Surveys have shown that most people only read average of six books per year, and only four percent of the population read four or more books per month. Much of this behavior has nothing to do with book pricing or lack of discoverability for new titles–two issues that continue to plague the publishing industry–but have a lot to do with time. Book clubs give people some small measure of accountability, knowing that they need to finish the title to stay on task with the group; book clubs also help readers feel like they’re reading the “right” books and participating in the broader global culture around “in the know” titles.
It’s been said that we’re the Book of the Month club for the 21st century,” explained Stone Herman as she described the actual methods by which people use the membership platform. Book clubs can be actual real-life clubs that gather for periodic meetings but need a source to all purchase the same title, such as through Librify’s recently announced partnership with Target to sell ebooks. However, the service also makes it possible to host virtual book clubs for users who want to chat or meet up online/
“It’s however you want it. It could be the group of women who meet at someone’s house to drink wine and talk about a book, to everyone who went to a certain college and want to form a group online. Target’s picks will allow people to come on together and pick a book.”
Stone Herman spoke about future plans to work out a solid way to actually build virtual book clubs, but currently Librify offers a discussion platform that lets people discuss a book. At the same time, Librify is exploring ways to let the authors jump in and participate in the discussion with a book club’s members, and users have shown great interest in having that connection with the authors whose books they’re reading.
“The full book club experience is about people wanting to read the same book and get together to talk about it, and they want to do that together.”
Mercy Pilkington is a Senior Editor for Good e-Reader. She is also the CEO and founder of a hybrid publishing and consulting company.