Happy National Book Lovers Day
Since today is National Book Lovers Day – one of the best national holidays to exist, if you ask us – we’re turning our attention to three new companies that are reinventing how we discover books. Last month, we talked about the rise of #BookTok, and while it’s impossible to overstate the impact that TikTok has had on the book industry, you can only mindlessly scroll for so long. These startups are creating intentional spaces to bond over good books.
Indie internet bookstore Folio, founded by 25-year-old Clare Carroll, has been described as the “cooler, digital younger sister of Barnes & Noble.” The former IBM consultant wanted to build a place where Gen Z and millennials could discover books – think Goodreads, but without the notoriously ancient user interface that hasn’t changed since Amazon bought it in 2013. The result is a highly curated collection with a sleek recommendation engine and product finder, both of which handily make recommendations based on personal taste. The stylish packaging, which creates an unboxing experience that feels more like a fancy clothing boutique than, say, Amazon, is a frequent presence under BookTok’s#bookhaul hashtag.
Taking an even more technical approach to book recommendations is Tertulia, a new app that uses a mix of artificial intelligence and human curation to aggregate book content from across the web. Like Folio, users are tasked with answering questions about their book preferences – but AI is where a lot of the magic comes in. For example, Tertulia allows you to link up your Twitter account, and the algorithm will then incorporate any book recommendations from people you follow on the social app. You can also browse titles by genre; books are ranked according to buzz based on social listening rather than sales.
Like Tertulia and Folio, Copper is also about book discovery – but unlike its competitors, this startup is designed specifically to connect readers with writers. Author Allison Trowbridge set out to build a social network around books – essentially “Instagram for book lovers,” as she’s described it, with her new app that launched in May. Trowbridge aims to give authors a place to build and scale their own communities through hosting video chats and leading conversations in the forums while also providing book enthusiasts with a platform to connect with one another as well as the writers they love.