It's always nice when someone notices that it’s time to think about books in the new millennium. And just when I was wondering if the whole publishing industry was going to keep its head stuck in the sand until we all wound up living in a post apocalyptic wasteland with nothing but self-published erotica and an Amazon dictatorship. The source of my optimism this morning: Librify.com.
Librify, which starts its beta test in July, is set up as a subscriber based ebook business—think Netflix, but for books. Unlike Netflix, however, Librify emphasizes the more social aspects of reading (its primary demographic seems to be book clubs). Really more like Netflix meets Goodreads. So, in addition to giving readers a chance to read and share reviews, subscription gets you access to the Librify bookstore, which works on all devices, and one discounted ebook a month. Sure, that number is a little underwhelming for those of us who devour way more than one book a month, but it’s perfect for Book of the Month style book clubs. In fact, once you sign up with a book club you can use the site to schedule your next meeting and share thoughts with the group as you read.
My hope? That this project succeeds and expands (preferably to include more discounts per month). The founder, former investment banker Joanna Stone Herman, seems determined to give book clubs a 21st century makeover, and I hope she doesn’t stop there. The way people read is changing, and it’s about time that the industry changes with it. Maybe some day I’ll be able to pull up Librify and find virtual bookshelves stocked with books the way my Netflix instant account is stocked with movies, all right there for the reading in my Librify virtual armchair (seriously guys, it has a virtual armchair).
The site isn’t set to launch until the fall, but you can request an invite now on their website for the beta test in July. Prices haven’t been determined yet, though let's hope they'll ring in a bit lower than on Amazon or iTunes. Fingers crossed!