The American Booksellers Association will embed the widget on IndieBound.org, where it is already available on most titles, as well as on IndieCommerce.org, its platform hosting roughly 400 indie bookstore sites. In addition, Ingram has added the widget to its e-commerce tool, ipage.
“For us, this was an easy choice to integrate with iPage for retailers. Book Marks reviews benefit both the publishers and retailers,” Margaret Harrison, director of digital services at Ingram, said in a statement. “Retailers can use Book Marks to identify buzz-worthy titles and buy with confidence from iPage. And for publishers, Book Marks reviews aid in discoverability by surfacing professional reviews at a glance.”
Literary Hub, which was co-founded by Grove Atlantic president and publisher Morgan Entrekin and longtime magazine editor Terry McDonell in partnership with Andy Hunter, the Catapult publisher and Electric Literature founder, was established in 2015 in conjunction with a number of publisher partners. Book Marks, which was founded in 2016 and is edited by Dan Sheehan, aggregates reviews from major reviewers and literary journalism outlets across the U.S. and logs their book reviews.
“Over the last 15 years, we have seen millions of online reviews create a robust conversation around books. We created Book Marks because we believe in the value of professional criticism,” said Entrekin. “Book Marks adds to the existing conversation by offering a snapshot of what professional reviewers are saying about a book. We think this will be enormously helpful, especially for websites that do not currently have lots of reader reviews.”
Once a book is reviewed by more than three outlets, Book Marks assigns each review a rating—"rave," "positive," "mixed," or "pan"—and the ratings are then averaged into an overall result, at which point the book becomes part of the site's database, which now contains more than 20,000 reviews. The widget, which is embeddable (and is embedded above), shows snippets from individual reviews and also the overall grade of the book, allowing readers who might otherwise only see Amazon or GoodReads customer reviews quick access to a broad overview of professional criticism on the books as an alternative.
"Customers rely on reviews, especially when shopping online, to give them the confidence to make a purchase. That’s as true for books as it is for anything else," Hunter said. "The Book Marks widget gives book websites this competitive advantage, by featuring reviews from hundreds of professional book critics and publications."