Rakuten Kobo, a global e-book and e-reading device retailer, has acquired the assets of Shelfie, a now defunct service that bundled e-books and print editions, that ceased operations earlier this year.
The acquisition includes Shelfie’s technology staff, intellectual property, and platform infrastructure. Kobo will work to integrate the Shelfie platform into its apps and continue to offer consumers the ability to get digital versions of print titles they already own.
Shelfie CEO Peter Hudson said: “We’re proud of what we’ve built, and in Kobo have found the perfect platform to expand on what Shelfie has to offer, on a global scale. With Shelfie’s technology, avid readers will easily be able to find the next must-read book.”
Shelfie shutdown operations at the end of January. At the time Kobo offered Shelfie customers the opportunity to transfer their e-book libraries to the Kobo platform to ensure continued to access to their titles.
Originally named BitLit, Shelfie was launched in 2013 by Peter Hudson and Marius Muja. It offered consumers the ability to get a free or discounted e-book edition of print titles they already owned. The completed purchases by sending a photo of their print books. At one point the company offered more than 450,000 titles. Later renamed Shelfie, the company used the photos and consumer data to begin offering book recommendations.
Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo Inc., said the acquisition will allow Kobo to incorporate “Shelfie’s innovative advances in book recommendation, discovery, and bundling.” Tamblyn continued: “We know our best customers move fluidly between formats, reading digitally and in print, and we welcome this opportunity to bring their reading life together.”