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Hachette, Penguin and Simon & Schuster Launch Bookish

Hachette Book Group, Penguin and Simon & Schuster have launched Bookish, nearly two years after the site was first announced in May 2011.

The site will recommend books and let readers shop for books. It also shares book excerpts and features essays from its editors and authors (we’ve included some excerpts below).

According to Digital Book World sources, the publishers have invested “about $16 million” in the new venture. Bookish also counted the participation of 16 other major publishers, including Random House, Inc., Scholastic, HarperCollins Publishers and Perseus Books Group.

Here’s more from the release: “After simply inputting up to four books from a specific category, Bookish will quickly generate recommendations from a proprietary algorithm that factors in editorial themes, professional and consumer reviews, publishing house editor insights, awards and more. Each title featured on Bookish has its own book page. These dedicated pages showcase a range of elements, including: an easy-to-access preview of the first chapter through Bookish’s e-Reader, related book videos, a roundup of Bookish’s must-read lists in which the book has been spotlighted, a newsfeed of the latest stories from around the web related to the book, a brief book description, cover art and other books by the same author.”

We’ve explored a few of the featured essays on the site this morning. Here’s the Onion review of E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey:

“James has produced an undeniably helpful how-to book for the sexual-intercourse novice. This practical read features easy-to-grasp introductory lessons on strangulation, riding crop technique, the insertion of Ben Wa balls and much, much more beginner material.”

Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a letter to Philip Roth: “If you are phenomenally lucky, you might become lionized in your own lifetime, like the great Philip Roth himself. And if that should ever happen to you–if you should ever find yourself both successful and loved–please do try to keep in mind that you have been blessed, not blighted. So maybe take it easy on the complaining, OK?”

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