Shelfie, the book discovery app that allows readers to digitize their print library with e-book bundles, is partnering with Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass., to offer digital editions of four print books. This is the first time that the Canadian startup has tested a bookstore promotion in the U.S.
The partnership kicks off with a reading on May 3 sponsored by Harvard with Chris Anderson, author of Ted Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). The event will be held at a nearby business of the bookstore's, the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square.
Those who purchase a copy of Anderson’s book from Harvard Book Store will be able to get the e-book through Shelfie. Users will have to download the app (available for Android and IOS) to their smartphone, sign the copyright page, and send a photo of the page to Shelfie to verify ownership.
The store jumped at the chance to "promote reading across formats,” said Harvard Book Store owner Jeff Mayersohn. “We believe that bundling the e-book and print book will be of great value to our customers.”
In addition to the Anderson title, Harvard is promoting e-book bundling with Shelfie for three other HMH titles: Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything: The Basics.
This is the first time that HMH has offered titles through Shelfie. The house selected the four frontlist and backlist titles for the promotion in conjunction with both Harvard and Shelfie. The promotion, if effective, may well be expanded, according to Shelfie. If Harvard can help promote the bundles, the tech company will look to partner with other publishers and bookstores, to promote different titles, said Shelfie v-p of content Mary Alice Elcock.
“What makes Shelfie unique,” Elcock added, “is that we are a digital company in support of print. We only make a sale when a reader has first purchased a print book.”
To date Shelfie has signed 1,300 publishers, including three of the big five: HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Hachette.