24 Feb Bookwitty: A New Way of Discovering Books
Bookwitty is a new global platform that sets out to change the way readers find, purchase and engage with content.
By Giulia Trentacosti – First published in March 2017
As part of our Publishing Industry Insight Series we take a closer look at Bookwitty, a new book discovery platform that will be launched this year. With offices scattered around the world, Bookwitty is conceived as a global community platform that will revolutionize the way readers discover, purchase and engage with contents. The platform aims at no less than making available “any book, in any language, anywhere in the world”. To achieve such an ambitious goal, Bookwitty combines its expertise in book distribution with an innovative approach to e-commerce. Borrowing elements from social networks and open-knowledge-sharing, the platform will enable book lovers from around the world to come together and discuss their shared interests, while also acting as an online retailer.
To have a sneak peek of this new venture we interviewed** Olivia Snaije, a Paris-based journalist and editor of Bookwitty’s English-language website, and Cindy Carvalho, the company’s marketing manager.
**Interview conducted before Bookwitty’s shutdown.
Giulia: Could you explain what Bookwitty is?
Cindy and Olivia: Bookwitty.com is a community-driven platform that hopes to transform the way we discover and talk about books and content.
Its objective is to allow people to discover personalized content differently, and at times through books – but most importantly discover content when it is most relevant to them. This is possible thanks to features that allow consumers to follow, write, share and connect with insightful people and entities in a multi-cultural community of like-minded people.
It is through content and the community that people can subsequently find and purchase relevant books, even the most inaccessible, at the best price possible.
G: Why the need for such a platform?
C & O: Today, people are saturated with all types of content. On average, there are 2 million blog posts per day, and 2 million books published every year. All of which are competing for the market’s attention.
Regardless of the channels where content is accessed, one element remains the same: algorithms based on popularity, sales, company ad expenditures, partnerships or previously visited products or content are the elements that drive what is presented to the consumer.
E-commerce sites that sell books are often used by consumers to find their next read, and these rely on bestseller lists or big publisher promotions to recommend books, rarely taking into context, readers’ interests, or the relevancy of a book into consideration. Considering that less than 1% of books make it onto bestseller lists, the majority of published books often go unnoticed.
G: How will Bookwitty be able to offer “any book, in any language, anywhere in the world at the fairest price”?
C & O: For over 10 years we have built partnerships and relationships with different international players in the book industry. It is thanks to our large network of partners, from major publishers to small indie bookstores, that we have access to any kind of book, in any language, and are therefore able to offer it to our community at the fairest price in the market.
G: How does Bookwitty differentiate itself from similar platforms (e.g. Amazon, Goodreads, etc)?
C & O: Bookwitty is unique for its contextualized recommendations of books and content, which is driven by the community, rather than by popularity or sales algorithm. Beyond simply selling books, Bookwitty’s mission is to empower its users’ curiosity through content that is relevant to them.
G: When is this platform going to be launched and where is it based?
C & O: Bookwitty is an international company with offices in Montreal, New York, Paris, Dublin, London, Brussels and Beirut. The platform is currently in beta version, and will be launched officially in the second quarter of 2017. Furthermore, we’re very excited to announce that a French version of the website will be available from the end of March 2017. That said, articles have been published for six months now and can be read on the site, they are promoted on our social media platforms as well on Facebook and Twitter.