I have watched with interest the new daily deal services like Groupon and Living Social since they exploded onto the scene. Disappointed that these services are all locale-based and not profile-based, I keep hoping for a service that will benefit publishers of books.
Groupon, Living Social, and other daily deal services all allow businesses to target a city with their deals. This strategy does not work well for publishers. Books readers fit profiles better than geographical locations. In other words, some people read romance, some read history, others read memoirs, and others prefer Christian living materials. Targeting San Francisco, California, with a deal for a new book for Christian women will not garner the same response that targeting Christian women who read across the country would.
Believing that many truly great books never appear on a best-seller list, Andrew Rhomberg decided to combine a book discovery sharing tool with Groupon-like deals to help people find great, but possibly obscure books. To this end, he is developing a new service called Jellybooks.
Set to launch in the Spring of 2012, Jellybooks will initially be offered only in the United Kingdom. Andrew hopes to have it running in over a dozen countries by the end of 2012.
In brief, Jellybooks will allow users to find books that look interesting. Publishers will place samples of new books (the first 10% of the book) on Jellybooks. Once people have started browsing, downloading, and sharing, Jellybooks will use the information it gathers to offer users special 50-percent off “Sweet Deals” on books that fit well with their choices so far. Publishers will nominate books to be Sweet Deals. These deals can be used to give a book a second wind six to nine months after publication, to promote a previous title when an author has a new publication, to expose readers to a first book in a series, or to sell bundles of back-list titles.
Jellybooks sounds like the type of coupon service the publishing industry needs. I sure hope that it gets off the ground this spring and becomes a useful tool for readers, authors, and publishers.