The newest effort to help readers discover books online has just gone live. Tertulia, which launched on iOS today, is a free book discovery app that includes a purchasing and shipping option.
Tertulia was founded by two Artsy veterans—cofounder Sebastian Cwilich and Robert Lenne, Artsy’s head of product and design—and Lynda Hammes, a former media and publishing executive. To launch the app, the founders raised $6 million in funding and put Tertulia through an incubation period, with help from Ingram Content Group chairman John Ingram. Ingram Content Group, which is also a Tertulia investor, will fulfill books ordered from the app. Currently, about 15 million print titles are available for purchase. The company plans to add audiobooks by the end of the year and e-books in 2023.
To help readers find books, Tertulia uses both AI and editorial curation. Hammes said that Tertulia has vetted 10,000 different sources—including reviews, social media posts, awards, podcasts, bestseller lists, book club picks, and critics’ picks—to gather information. Readers can choose the categories of books they are interested in hearing about and the voices they are interested in hearing from. The app surfaces choices based on a series of questions readers have answered. When readers discover a book they want to learn more about, they have the option of being directed back to a content page for more information. “One of the goals of Tertulia is to create the best book page on the internet,” said Lenne.
Tertulia also features most-talked-about book lists in a host of categories. These trending lists, updated on a rolling basis, are based on conversations from across the web. “We think of these lists as having the potential to capture the holy grail of book discovery via word-of-mouth mentions,” said Hammes.
In its effort to create a book community, Tertulia has started a community ownership program. Under the program, Tertulia users can become members of the Tertulia Co-op, which has a partial ownership stake in Tertulia, Inc. For a $25 annual membership fee, Tertulia users will earn co-ownership units in proportion to their book purchases. Tertulia members will also receive unlimited free shipping and a 10% discount on all books.
“Every decision we make is based on developing a great discovery experience for [readers],” Cwilich said. “We also recognize that publishers have been working on discovery since the advent of the internet, and we are excited to collaborate with them to help readers discover books both old and new.”