Ah another acquisition of a web 2.0 startup by and I must say an interesting acquisition. Read it today on news sites as well as on Shelfari’s official blog that Shelfari which is a social networking site for book-lovers has been acquired by online book transaction giant amazon.com. While surfing amazon.com today I didn’t see any direct link or connection to shelfari whereas shelfari.com already shows linking to amazon.com now. Maybe it will happen on amazon also pretty soon.
I have been a member of Shelfari for quite some time now and I have always found this site to be very interesting. They have always been innovative and engaging enough and their mailer communication makes you click the URL atleast once. Though I don’t have many friends on shelfari simply because it’s a niche site and not all of my friends on other social networking sites are book lovers so to say. Also unlike Orkut or Facebook, the purpose of my visit to this site is not interacting with friends but the content of the site which matches with my taste. I love reading books and hence sites like these help me being updated about what to read by its release and user-generated reviews section. This site was already having small associations with Amazon like their “buy” option leading to Amazon’s website on their own website as well as their Facebook app but an acquisition like this has definitely given Shelfari a huge edge over all its existing and potential competitors. Start-up book lovers’ networking sites competing with each other was ok but now start-ups competing with Amazon.com? Very- very tough!!!
Well, as is the case with most of the vertical-specific social networking sites, I don’t think even Shelfari was having huge number of registrations / large community which would have made Amazon acquire this site. For Amazon which is the obvious leader as far as books recommendations and transactions are concerned, it’s a natural progression to have a social networking site around books and what better option than to acquire a budding but promising site instead of starting its own! I will say it’s a good move for both these sites, for Shelfari things could not have turned out to be better than this and for Amazon another feather in its cap. Knowing Amazon’s capabilities (their recommendation engine is my personal favorite and I think they have the best recommendation engine globally) and Shelfari’s commitment, I’m sure bibliophiles like me will have a more engaged and pleasant user experience.