Anobii Moves Forward With Direct-To-Consumer Book Sales

If a book catches your interest on British social reading site aNobii, you’ll now be able to buy it directly from the publisher. The site, which is backed by HMV (LSE: HMV), HarperCollins UK, Penguin UK and Random House UK, just signed deals with 10 British publishers to sell books directly through the site. Meanwhile, a similar effort in the U.S., Bookish, is bogged down and delayed its launch.

Participating publishers so far are Penguin, Random House and HarperCollins, along with Hachette, Pan Macmillan, Bloomsbury, Canongate, Faber, Wiley and Harlequin UK. The publishers can sell e-books through the site by the end of this month, with the release of aNobii 2.0, and print titles next year, the Bookseller reported.

That aNobii has successfully gotten a direct sales platform for publishers up and running is not a small thing. Bookish, a joint venture of Hachette, Penguin and Simon & Schuster (NYSE: CBS) in the U.S., was announced in May as a site where readers could discover books and buy them directly from publishers. Bookish was supposed to launch by the end of the summer, but it hasn’t. The company’s CEO, Paulo Lemgruber, stepped down and was replaced by former Meredith (NYSE: MDP) exec Caroline Marks at the beginning of this month.

Anobii started out as a social network in Hong Kong in 2006 but was acquired by a startup led by Matteo Berlucchi and with backing from HMV, HarperCollins, Penguin and Random House in 2010. “HMV and the publishers were keen to create an open platform in the rapidly growing market of digital books,” the company told paidContent:UK’s Robert Andrews earlier this year. The difference between aNobii and Bookish, said Berlucchi: “Bookish doesn’t have retail genes.”

Correction: An earlier version of this piece stated that HMV owns Waterstones; HMV sold Waterstones in May. I apologize for the error.