By Hannah Johnson | @HannahJohnson
Möllers: ‘Another Big Step Forward’German company Book2look announced Monday (January 30) that its digital marketing technology is now powering look-inside book previews on Bookshop.org, an online retail platform for independent booksellers in the United States and United Kingdom.
Book2look’s embeddable widgets, called “biblets,” allow publishers to offer free previews of their books, as well as reviews, video and audio content, and buy links. Built-in analytics let publishers track each widget’s performance across multiple online channels and social networks.
Book2look managing director Ralph Möllers, in a prepared statement about the new partnership, is quoted, saying, “For us, this is another big step forward into the international market, and we’re more than a little proud, as a German company, to be able to deliver a solution for this rapidly growing platform for independent bookstores in the USA and UK.”
Möllers has become a well-known digital publishing figure in the book industry for his work on numerous digital companies and his decades of experience as a publisher. Over the years, he and his wife, Iris Bellinghausen, have founded and sold several publishing companies including multimedia publishers Systhema and Navigo, as well as children’s content company Terzio Verlag.
In 2021, when Möllers received Germany’s DPR Award for Digital Leadership, Harald Henzler said of Möllers in his laudation, “You are the brave knight of digitization.” Henzler was making a reference here to Ritter Rost—or Knight Rusty, in English—a children’s brand popularized by Terzio, which Möllers and Bellinghausen sold to Carlsen Verlag in 2012.
It was during his time at Terzio Verlag that Möllers began working on a digital book-marketing tool to promote his own titles and content online. When the industry-wide potential became clear, he partnered with developer Hitesh Jain at WITS Interactive to expand Book2look into a marketing tool for other publishers to use as well.
Currently, Book2look is being sold by Nielsen BookData in the United Kingdom and by Bowker in the United States and Canada. According to Book2look, more than 4,000 publishers and self-publishers are using the technology internationally—including HarperCollins, S. Fischer, Droemer Knaur, Klett-Cotta, Egmont UK, Taylor & Francis, and Cambridge University Press.
Hunter: ‘Elegant, Embedded Reading Preview’
Bookshop.org founder Andy Hunter, another longtime champion of technology in publishing, is quoted in the announcement, saying, “Bookshop.org is pleased to offer our customers an opportunity to browse books before buying them, using Book2Look’s elegant, embeddable preview technology.”
Hunter, coming from the world of independent publishing, has a track record of developing digital projects that both showcase literary work and compete successfully with larger companies.
Like Möllers, Hunter recognized early on the importance of meeting consumers online. In a 2016 interview with Publishing Perspectives, Hunter said, “It’s clear that our cultural conversation has moved online, and if literature–thoughtful, complex fiction and nonfiction–is going to be a vital part of that conversation, it has to move online too.”
Bookshop.org has entered its third year of operation, doing successfully what very few in the industry thought was possible: competing with Amazon for online book sales. His approach to doing this, Hunter told Publishing Perspectives in 2022, is to “leverage the power of small communities, micro-communities,” which has so far, according to Bookshop.org, raised $24 million for independent bookstores since it launched in 2020.
More from Publishing Perspectives on bookselling is here, more on Bookshop.org is here, more on Andy Hunter is here, more on bookstores is here, and more on Amazon is here.