Sunshine Abroad

The trials and rewards of French translation and beyond

Where I stand on Bookish

or: I'm glad I don't have to be an investigative journalist, when there's plenty of other people who will happily do that for me

Everyone in the publishing industry has been hearing about Bookish for quite some time. It had gone through a lot of leadership changes (3 CEO's before even launching?), but it finally went live a couple of months ago.

For the blissfully unaware, it was supposed to end up replacing Amazon and Goodreads, giving people a new/better/different/sparkling way to discover and share books. But it's not homegrown or built around the community like Goodreads, and it's nowhere near vast enough to rival Amazon's scope.

Also, there's a bigger problem that people have been complaining about: conflict of interest. Bookish's editorial team is supposed to be completely neutral and open to anything, thus making it easy for people to discover books they otherwise wouldn't. But Bookish is run by three of the Bix 6 publishers (the mega-houses that have all the books and all the clout): Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Penguin.

Peter Winkler started talking about it over at Huffington Post:

"The exclusive author content Bookish offers, consisting of canned interviews with authors, book excerpts, and short essays, which gets refreshed periodically, is invariably written by or about authors whose books are published by Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster, or one of their imprints."

But the cooler part was when The Digital Reader picked it up. Winkler hopped over to thank them for picking up his story, but then Rebecca Wright showed up, and started defending Bookish. Which makes sense, because she's their executive editor.

Go there, scroll down, and read the comment exchange. It's pretty cordial, and she convinced me not to out and out hate Bookish.

I personally still won't be using the site anytime soon -- look, I just got on Twitter last autumn, and I'm barely on Goodreads yet; I can only do one social media site at a time -- but if they actually manage to diversify their content, like Wright is claiming they already are, then it won't be terrible. Benefit of the doubt, people.