Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Three Publishers Back New Book-Sales Site

Bookish, a long-delayed retail website backed by three major publishers, is set to launch Tuesday.
The website, bookish.com, aims to make it easier for reading enthusiasts to learn about new novels and nonfiction. The disappearance of so many bookstores—including the 2011 liquidation of Borders Group Inc.—has made it harder for some customers to simply find a place to browse. In turn, publishers are increasingly are focused on finding additional ways to distribute books and help consumers discover new authors.
Bookish will contain professional reviews, user-generated reviews, a recommendation engine, links to author pages and advertising.
The new site will sell books directly but also link to such retailers as Amazon.com Inc.AMZN +2.66% and BarnesandNoble.com, the online bookselling arm of Barnes & Noble Inc. BKS +7.25%
The site will initially offer about 1.2 million titles, said Ardy Khazaei, chief executive of Bookish. Mr. Khazaei said editorial decisions are independent of the three publishers funding the site—CBS Corp.'s CBS +1.12% Simon & Schuster Inc., PearsonPSON.LN +0.50% PLC's Penguin Group (USA) and Lagardère MMB.FR +0.63%SCA's Hachette Book Group. Sixteen other publishers are also supplying content and metadata.
Bookish was expected to launch in the summer of 2011 but was delayed as it grappled with various technology issues, including the need to handle large amounts of data from multiple sources.
In addition to its published titles, Bookish will feature original content, including some supplied by publishers and authors, as well as material generated by Bookish's own staff.
Write to Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg at jeffrey.trachtenberg@wsj.com

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