Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Amazon.com to Buy Shelfari, A Social Network for Book Lovers

Amazon.com to Buy Social Network for Book Lovers

Amazon.com Monday agreed to acquire Shelfari, a social network for book lovers, for an undisclosed sum.

Amazon's acquisition of Shelfari means the site will likely make it a much stronger competitor to other social networks that focus on bibliophiles, according to some observers. In addition, Amazon earlier this month acquired online rare book seller AbeBooks, and gained its 40% stake in one of Shelfari's main competitors, LibraryThing. Thus, observers note, Amazon will have a stake in two competing social networks for readers.

Shelfari allows users to build a virtual book shelf to display the books they have read or want to read, along with the ability to provide reviews and ratings for viewing by others. The site also helps users connect with each other to form groups or provide book suggestions.

Josh Hug, Shelfari's CEO, noted in a blog post Monday that the site will benefit from Amazon's additional resources and expertise in building a platform where users can share ideas. [snip]


"Whether Shelfari goes mainstream will depend on how Amazon integrates it with its core business and with products such as the e-Reader Kindle," he noted. He went on to note that LibraryThing hopes to compete with Shelfari by providing a superior service to Shelfari. " [snip]

Stan Schroeder, a blogger at Mashable, added that Amazon turned its eye to Shelfari because it needed a book-oriented social network and acquiring Shelfari was the "easiest, fastest or least cash intensive" way to do it.

"I think that Amazon will actually help Shelfari to grow." Schroeder added. "It'll be much easier to build a community for book-lovers if you've got Amazon's huge user numbers and book inventory to help you."



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