Penguin Random House has announced that they are closing the My Independent Bookshop on December 21st because it failed to garner significant interest to keep the platform going.
The essence of the social platform is that it encourages readers to set up their own virtual bookshops to share their favorite reads as well as discover, recommend and review books online.
The second part of the bookshop concept was to provide an avenue for readers to purchase e-Books directly through the system. All books listed in the virtual shops were available to buy online through hive.co.uk, the ecommerce arm of Gardners wholesalers, which is connected with hundreds of independent bookshops across the UK. As part of the registration process, ‘My Independent Bookshop’ users can choose their favourite real-world independent bookshop to connect with. Hive will then pass an a 8% commission from any purchase made through the website to their selected shop.
In the year and a half that My Independent Bookshop was operational 20,000 books were listed , 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).
Update: Penguin Random House contacted me and said the following
We are closing My Independent Bookshop in preparation for the launch of our new Penguin-branded consumer website, Penguin.co.uk, in the New Year, which will be our online home for all consumer content relating to our authors and books. This is part of a broader consumer strategy for Penguin Random House in the UK to grow awareness of our authors and strengthen the bonds between them and their audiences.