Posted by Jeff Markowitz on Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Unable to rely on bookstores as the focus for their promotional efforts, unable to attract readers in large enough numbers to their own company websites and unwilling to cede the digital marketplace to amazon, the big New York publishing houses are joining forces to launch bookish, the "new digital destination for readers".  Bookish will be financed by Simon &  Schuster, Penguin Group USA and Hachette Book Group, until the company becomes profitable.  Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster was quoted in the NY Times on Saturday,

"There's a frustration with book consumers that there's no one-stop shopping when it comes to information about books and authors."

It seems to me that Ms. Reidy has it backwards.  Consumers have found a one-stop shopping destination for books (amazon) and seem to be pretty much satisfied.  It is publishers, rather than consumers, who are frustrated as the balance of power shifts inexorably toward amazon.  It seems to me that this is another misguided attempt by the New York publishing houses to reassert their power and protect their market share.  But I see no good reason to believe that bookish will succeed in wresting business away from amazon nor that doing so will in any particular way, benefit readers.

For those of us who mourn the decline of bricks-and-mortar bookstores, bookish doesn't seem to have much to  offer to make up for that loss.  And for those of us who are comfortable with online shopping, it's unclear to me what bookish has to offer that will entice buyers to change their online shopping habits.

Bookish is scheduled to go live sometime this summer.  I may be wrong about this, but I'm guessing that bookish may go dead by fall.

What do you think?  Do you need a new online destination for books?

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