When you want to buy a paper book, you generally visit a bookstore - without having to know which book you want in advance, and which publisher has issued it.
And now a group of book publishers is aiming to do the same thing online, with the creation of Bookish.com, which should act as a one-stop-shop for books with a wide range of content and formats.
Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group (USA), and Simon & Schuster are planning to offer suggestions on what to buy, excerpts from books and news about authors, as well as offering both print and digital books for sale. AOL will provide ad sales support.
"Bookish enjoys the support of significant, established players in the publishing and online space. Nobody is more intimately familiar with the multitude of elements that make a book appealing than its publisher," says CEO Paulo Lemgruber.
"In addition to working with Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group (USA) and Simon & Schuster, we look forward to working with the entire publishing and book-selling community to make Bookish an exciting destination that will delight readers."
Users will be able to ask one another's advice, post reviews and make recommendations. They will be able to buy books directly from the site, or via the publishers' own websites and other retailers. A primary aim, say the creators, is to answer the question "What should I read next?".
Lemgruber says that 14 book publishers have already agreed to participate, and that the site is due to go live later this summer.
"With our team's startup expertise and credentials, as well as our ability to leverage the knowledge of publishers, retailers and authors, Bookish is innately positioned to fuel people's passion for books," he says.