Scheduled to launch sometime in the spring, BookClub is a virtual book club platform driven by author-led book discussions and designed for mobile devices. The service was cofounded by a group of executives with prior experience in the educational technology sector. The company has raised about $6 million in initial funding led by investments from Maveron with participation from GSV Ventures, Signal Peak Ventures, and Pelion Venture Partners.
BookClub cofounders include CEO David Blake, chief technology officer Eric Sharp, v-p of product Emily Campbell, and v-p of production Christine Murphy. Three of the BookClub cofounders - Blake, Sharp, and Campbell - held key positions at Degreed, an educational technology platform founded in 2012.
New additions to the BookClub team include Pamela Levine, former president of Worldwide Theatrical Marketing for Twentieth Century Fox, who has been named chief marketing officer; as well as Talia Gerecitano, who has been appointed v-p, original content marketing. Before working for Twentieth Century Fox, Levine was chief marketing officer for HBO. Gerecitano has worked for more than 20 years in consumer and entertainment marketing and previously worked for such companies as Netflix, HBO, and AMC.
BookClub director of marketing communications Sho Guo said cofounders Blake and Sharp were looking “to democratize education and create a new learning platform.“ Books, she continued, “are perfect for this.”
Although BookClub is slated to launch online sometime in the spring, Guo said the venture was not ready to announce an exact start date. BookClub, Guo continued, will be a platform for a wide ranging online book discussions with the potential to attract a global audience. The format will feature author-led book discussions that will be offered in real time and accompanied by text-chat. Discussions will also be recorded, with plans to offer scores of authors the chance to discuss their books and talk directly to readers.
BookClub is a subscription service and will charge a monthly fee, although the amount has not been decided. The company will not sell the books discussed on the site, Guo added, but the venture will provide links to a variety of retail partners, including the largest online retailers, and indie bookstores. “The author's preference,” Guo said, will determine which stores are used to offer books for sale.
Interested readers, Guo said, can add their email addresses to a waitlist on the BookClub website. Guo said BookClub is looking for all kinds of authors, including Indie or self-published book authors. The startup service will also feature “celebrity” authors, although Guo said BookClub was “not ready to name those authors” at this time.