Anyone who gets the Publishers Lunch has received the news that Amazon acquired Shelfari. TechCrunch is reporting that Amazon dropped a cool million on the Shelf, while the Seattle Post-Intelligencer notes that three weeks ago, Amazon acquired AbeBooks, which owns a share in Shelfari’s competitor, LibraryThing.
While the nom-nom-nom-ing of the internet does make me raise a cautious brow, it also makes me wonder if Amazon is the only party with massive cash behind it that recognizes the potential power of book network marketing. Not marketing of books, but the marketing of book networks, and how powerful social networks are when founded on common reading experiences. In my research for advertising brokers, I’ve been told that book sites don’t sell, that books are hard to market, and that there isn’t as much interest in book based blogs as there is celebrity gossip, celebrity pictures with Photoshopped jism on them, and celebrity babies, handbags, diet plans, and plastic surgery. Oh, and celebrities.
Now, I happen to think these brokers are totally wrong, and while the massive big gulp that Amazon seems to be undertaking makes me wonder what they’re larger plans are for unifying these brands, it does give me a small amount of pleasure that at least Amazon does recognize that book network based marketing is an untapped market.