Bookish, the new book recommendation/editorial website co-funded by Penguin, Hachette and Simon & Schuster launched yesterday after nearly two years after it was created. The total investment in the site is estimated by Digital Book World at around $16 million, and the reviews have so far been mixed.
"Overall, I think the long-delayed Bookish is off to a promising start," reported Laura Hazard Owen at Paidcontent.org, who also noted that the site's recommendation engine pulled out two Spanish language titles as recommendations for readers who enjoyed the English-language edition of The Tipping Point.
Jeva Lange at the New York Daily News wrote that "Bookish stands as an easy, clean encyclopedia of sorts for browsing authors and their works with more simplicity and less pushiness than that of other huge retailers... I for one am rooting for it."
Paul Constant at The Stranger, however, felt that "I don't really see how Bookish becomes anything more than a momentary distraction," saying that Amazon's own recommendation system is good enough for most readers.
On BookRiot, Jeff O'Neal wrote that "I think many book buyers will prefer the experience of browsing Bookish to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but I’m not sure that is enough to change readers’ buying habits."
Ron Charles at The Washington Post had one of the snarkiest responses, writing "By some counts, Bookish is a tad latish. A little operation in Seattle called Amazon.com has a 20-year jump on the new site," adding that on a website that touts its ability to recommend overlooked titles, the site "leads with books by JK Rowling, Hilary Mantel and Tina Fey."
The greatest scorn, however, came courtesy of publishing expert Mike Cane, who tore into the site's Terms of Service, pointing out that they include that Bookish reserves the right to refuse your ability even to link to their site if you "present false information about, or disparage, tarnish, or otherwise, in BOOKISH’s sole opinion, harm BOOKISH or its products or services."
What do you think? Have you tried out Bookish yet? Let us know in the comments!
(Disclosure: AOL/The Huffington Post was involved in a pre-launch ad sales/content agreement with Bookish that ended by mutual agreement)
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