What is Jellybooks?

What is Jellybooks? It reminds us a bit of some of the other creative book daily deal ideas we’ve seen — such as BookPerk.com — Jellybooks is tapping a Groupon-style social approach towards book discovery. Publishing Perspectives has the scoop: “Jellybooks: New Book Discovery Tool Offers Groupon-Style Deals

When it comes to user book discovery, the notion of reaching more of those less-0bvious titles has appeal:

“In an attempt to fill this discovery gap, Rhomberg has founded Jellybooks, a book discovery and sharing tool that will also offer Groupon-type book deals to its users (and briefly mentioned in a Publishing Perspectives article by Mark Coker). According to Rhomberg, “We use similar principles as those employed by last.fm to make it easier to find great, but possibly obscure books. Our goal is to break the tyranny of the bestseller list. There are truly great books that appear on no bestseller list.”

I was rather interested in some of the insights Jellybooks Founder Andrew Rhomberg shares on the book discovery process. Specifically, how to make it more like the experience of the physical bookstore?

“We have spent many months trying to understand why physical bookshops still play such an important role in discovery.” For example, people really do use book covers in deciding what to read, so you won’t see thumbnail reductions. Interestingly (but very right when you think about it), cost isn’t much of a factor in choosing a book: “We found that price information plays very, very little role when users try to decide what makes for a great read. Clearly it matters when they have decided to buy a book at which point they will shop around (i.e. buy online and not in a physical store), but during the discovery process, price information is not a factor, so lets get rid of it.”

How does it work?

“Similar to Groupon, the deal only happens if enough people sign on to purchase, which means sharing is important for attaining the required number. If it’s reached within the 12-hour span, the book is downloaded (Sweet Deals are currently e-books only) and your credit card is charged. One important difference from Groupon, Rhomberg notes, is that “the discount has to be earned by the group as a whole. With Groupon it often just automatically goes over.”

But hey, I like the idea of personalized deals: “Once you’ve started browsing, downloading, and sharing, Jellybooks will use the information it has gathered to offer you special 50-percent off “Sweet Deals” on books that fit well with your choices so far. Not every Jellybooks user will be notified about every sale.”

Jellybooks will be launched in the UK first, slated for some time in Spring 2012.

You can sign up for updates on the JellyBooks website, which has yet to go live to the public just yet — but worth keeping an eye on, perhaps.

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I run the ThinkLab at the University of Cambridge, and research digital habits, productivity, and wellbeing.

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