Librify, which started beta testing with select users in March, offers a social-subscription service for e-books. For $8.99 a month, you get access to a recommended book each month, and a 10%-20% discount on all other e-books. Librify has more than 500,000 titles available for purchase so far — that’s about half of what Amazon offers through the Kindle.
“Eventually the goal is to have as much interactivity as we can,” says Joanna Stone Herman, CEO of Librify. She wants to marry a centuries-old tradition rooted in the physical world with the ease, convenience, and social reach of the Web.
“Since the beginning of people reading books people have said, let’s get five friends together, read the same book and talk about it,” she says. “But there’s nothing that’s been done to enhance that from a technology standpoint.”
Librify was founded in February 2013, and it has generally maintained a low profile. The startup last crossed my desk back in January 2014 when the company picked up a capital investor. Ingram, via its investment firm ICG Ventures, invested an unknown sum in Librify.
Target, on the other hand, is much better known. This is the second largest retailer in the US, and it has demonstrated a willingness to experiment. Its past ebook efforts include selling a broad set of ereaders, including the Kindle. This was subsequently replaced by an ereader section which focused on the Nook (and was likely subsidized by B&N), and at one point or another Target has also offered ebook gift cards and magazines subscription gift cards. It is not clear whether those cards are still available in all Target stores, however.