Amazon Picks Up Goodreads For Kindle Social and More

GoodreadsA few weeks ago, Amazon announced that they were going to acquire Goodreads, one of the most popular social sites on the internet for book lovers.  Goodreads has become a great place to go for sharing reviews, recommendations, ideas, and more since its debut in 2007.  While this is certain to be mutually beneficial in many ways, we have to assume that the goal here is to develop the Kindle Social experience into a real selling point for the eReader line.

The Kindle has an interesting position with regard to social interaction.

By its very nature it allows greater privacy than most paper books would.  No matter what situation you happen to be in, nobody can tell what you are reading without looking directly over your shoulder or asking you.  This cuts out the opportunity for people to randomly discover shared literary interests.

At the same time, because it offers access to practically any book in print at a moment’s notice there is a lot of opportunity for sharing and recommendations.  Users just need a way to willingly share their activity now that book covers can’t do the job.  The current integration with Twitter and Facebook are alright in this regard, but really a dedicated space for that sort of posting would go over better.  Hence the Goodreads acquisition.

There are a few things that both organizations stand to gain beyond that, of course.

One of the main services that Goodreads provides its users is book recommendations.  Regardless of what your opinions are of their other business strengths, nobody is going to deny that Amazon is the best there is at accurately targeting recommendations based on previous purchases.  Taking that technology and applying it to these book lists will improve the performance immensely.

That helps to drive up business at Amazon, since the Kindle Store remains the best place to buy eBooks.  In addition to the sales, there’s a wealth of data to work with on the Goodreads site.  Tying the review system there into the main Amazon site could provide much more accurate information for potential shoppers.  The associations and trends found between various readers will probably do some good in refining recommendations further as well. Learn how to open JPG file.

It’s going to be a while yet before anything changes.  The acquisition that was just announced won’t actually take place for a couple months.  Even after that there will need to be a fair amount of work before anything is ready for release.

Millions of readers are about to get a much more robust social experience out of their reading.

Amazon acquires AbeBooks has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement which will see the worlds largest on-line book retailer acquire the worlds largest rare and out-of-print book specialist, AbeBooks. AbeBooks is a Victoria, B.C., Canada and Düsseldorf, Germany based company with approximately 120 employees, the company lists over 110 million books from 13,500 booksellers worldwide. AbeBooks will continue to function as a stand-alone operation as part of the deal.

AbeBooks touts itself as a leader in rare and hard-to-find books. Russell Grandinetti, VP of books for said “AbeBooks brings added breadth and expanded selection to our customers worldwide, AbeBooks provides a wide range of services to both sellers and customers, and we look forward to working with them to further grow their business. We’re excited to present all of our customers with the widest selection of books available any place on Earth.”

Hannes Blum, chief executive of AbeBooks, said that he was “very excited” about the acquisition. “This deal brings together book sellers and book lovers from around the world, and offers both types of customers a great experience,”

Founded in 1996, AbeBooks charges members a monthly subscription fee to list their books, the website has over 110 million rare and out-of-print books listed.

Amazon expects to close the acquisition of AbeBooks before the end of the year for an undisclosed sum–rumoured to be between $90-$120 million–and is still subject to regulatory approvals. The takeover is the third major acquisition Amazon has made this year. It took over digital book download site Audible for $300m in March and also bought on-line fabric store in June.

How does it effect the Kindle?

There wont be any immediate effects for Kindle owners because AbeBooks wasn’t in the e-book business, however the acquisition of AbeBooks shows that Amazon is ruthlessly buying up its competition which is a loss for the consumer. In fact AbeBooks is the antithesis of of what Amazon has done lately with pushing into electronic books with the Kindle and hosting Web 2.0 services like EC2, S3, and its recently launched Flexible Payment Service.

I don’t anticipate any new services from Amazon since they have stated that they will keep AbeBooks as a stand-alone operation, one thing that AbeBooks is great at is connecting book lovers with small, independent book stores and allowing them to discover titles which no major book retailer sells.

AbeBooks business model doesn’t really apply to e-books since a copy of the a book can always be stored on Amazons server, forever. Perhaps in the future when e-books are more commonplace then a service like AbeBooks would be beneficial to Kindle owners allowing them to discover obscure authors or controversial content which publishers wont ever print.

Can AbeBooks somehow incorporate its service for Kindle owners?

Source: Amazon, Marketwatch, Techvibes