This post is Non-History but still relevant to the Blog. I tend to do quite a bit of internet searching in the course of writing and just general news reading. Because I do a lot of book reviews on her I tend to spend a lot of time on publisher webpages and bookselling websites.
This post mainly concerns a new service I have recently become aware of. Bookbub is a site that purports to only send you recommendations for books that you want to read at deep, deep discounts. The site is a startup based out of Cambridge, MA and seems to be trying to be Groupon for books. They must have some pretty good venture capital behind them as they are putting sponsored links and ad up all over the internet.
Here is the part that gets me. They determine the recommendations for you based on a gene pick you make when you join FOR FREE!, of course. They then direct you to their hot deals page which lists cheap books that you can download from the original retailer. They do not feature any non-fiction books and I am curious what kind of titles they will send me as i have fallen on the sword and signed up to see what they offer.
Browsing their hot-deals section it looks like they mainly offer self-published stuff that has been discounted so it sells. I did not recognize a single author name on the science fiction page and I have been reading SF for 30+ years. When I dug into past deals some names I knew such as Andre Norton, Stephen Arsenault, and David Drake showed up. All the famous authors had very old books featured. The kind that they throw on the market periodically to keep sales going.
From what I can see, bookbub is a vehicle for self-published people to get their name out there and for established authors to get their old stuff new awareness. I am reserving judgment for now on how relevant the recommendations are and I may even get a few of the deals because their are some excellent authors out there who only self-publish. I am also curious if my email address will be sold and then I will get even more spam (I did not use my normal email address for that reason). I will give this a few weeks and see what comes of it, then report back.
Right now this looks like someone came up with a good idea and is monetizing it. It remains to be seen whether it is worth my time to keep watching it.