Harry Potter Publisher Seeks to Create "MySpace for Books" in the Post-Potterverse
After the seventh and final Harry Potter epic, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is released on July 21st, millions around the world will be thrilled and subsequently saddened that there will be no further Potter adventures to look forward to. No one will be sadder, of course, than Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury, who will have to find ways to replace a cash cow the likes of which the publishing world has never seen before.
The UK’s Independent reports now that Bloomsbury will take the lead in developing a “literary version” of MySpace, a social networking site for book lovers. As Mashable points out, there are already several players in this space (and in social networking-ville, every space has players, and many are lousy with them), including GoodReads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing.
LibraryThing has been around for some time, and has a low budget yet functional and organic feel to it. Shelfari, which is backed by Amazon, has a higher gloss sheen and kind of feels like a Flickr of books, using large thumbnails of book jackets to help people identify their literary selves.
Speaking of Amazon, I think they’re the company who really has the biggest opportunity to claim this space. All the pieces are there: they have the audience and the site is packed to the rafters with social networking-style features such as recommended items, wish lists, friending, reviews (i.e. journaling or blogging), and so on.
I looked at a user profile on Amazon this morning and was surprised at how robust the feature set already is. I think the real challenge is to make this profile experience â€“ the core of any social networking site â€“ more prominent and relevant to Amazon visitors, who are mostly there to browse for books, DVDs, or other items.
Meanwhile, TechCrunch reports that the social networking sprawl is spilling over to the browser itself, with new Mozilla product The Coop bringing friending and media-sharing right into the Firefox browser. Next stop: the desktop.