Innovative online platform simplifies the book club experience
Multiple Awards | $286k
readers served worldwide
While reading has always been a popular hobby, the discussion of books has grown exponentially since the pandemic. In the United States, 125 million people read more than 10 books a year and 13 million readers are part of a book club. Although being in a book club has many benefits, it comes with logistical challenges such as the endless chains of emails. Frustrated with her experience of managing a book club with friends, co-founder and CEO Anna Ford created Bookclubs, a free app and website that helps simplify the process of book club management.
Bookclubs brings readers together with useful tools to start, organize, and join a book club. Each club has a unique invitation link that can be easily shared with friends. Readers can browse public book clubs, schedule meetings, facilitate discussions, and discover new books to read. Other key features include interactive polls for book selection, a message board, and private direct messaging (DMs) to streamline communication. Through digital shelving technology, readers can track the books they’ve read or want to read, share reviews or ratings, and receive personalized book recommendations.
As a startup, financial issues presented challenges to the company’s growth. With financial help from MTI, Bookclubs was able to invest in redesigning its website and refreshing its creative assets. Additionally, MTI’s support enabled Bookclubs’ growth through the development of an effective marketing strategy using experimental paid and organic user channels. Bookclubs also expanded its operating system for traditional book clubs by adding custom features for its enterprise and institutional clubs. With the launch of its “Join a a Book Club” marketplace, readers can now access hundreds of online and location-based book clubs, all open to the public.
In early 2022, the company also rebranded from Bookclubz.com to Bookclubs.com. Thanks to MTI’s investment, which assisted in the domain purchase, , this subtle name change not only helped Bookclubs gain legitimacy but also grew its annual user growth by two to three times and quadrupled its organic traffic to the website. Bookclubs used some of the funds to build an ad sales platform to partner with authors and publishers, a core component of the company’s current revenue model. The funding will also help the company develop a more comprehensive business model and monetization strategies. In 2023, Bookclubs plans to expand from an exclusively ad-based business model to offering readers premium or enterprise subscriptions and an automatic book club delivery system.
In addition to financial support, MTI’s team also connected Bookclubs to other resources for additional funding, collaborative projects, and learning opportunities. With this connection, Bookclubs found additional investment which helped launch pilot book clubs with Maine-based bookstores, businesses, and libraries.
With continued support from partners like MTI, Bookclubs can continue to fulfill its mission of bringing readers together and inspiring meaningful connections. By taking the work out of book club logistics, Bookclubs bring people together so they can enjoy a better book club experience.