Target Enters Digital Book Market With New Partnership
Target has partnered with New York-based e-book subscription startup Librify to combine its own book offerings with the startup’s digital book online platform.
As part of the Minneapolis-based retailer’s continued effort to expand its digital offerings, Target will be Librify’s exclusive retail partner and will integrate its own “Club Picks” book club with Librify’s e-book social networking technology.
Librify, which is slated to launch later this summer but began beta testing in March, is an e-book subscription service that costs $8.99 a month. It invites members to get access to certain books each month that align with online book clubs. Members also, according to USA Today, receive a 10 percent to 20 percent discount on all other e-books it buys through Librify.
Target plans to share its Club Picks through Librify’s online application. Club Picks are new books chosen by a group of Target employees each month, who typically identify emerging authors. Once chosen, Target works to secure exclusive content for the books, such as a letter from the author or exclusive bonus content within the book.
Target spokesman Evan Miller said the Librify partnership was forged so that Target could reach “digitally connected guests who like to talk about and share books as much as they enjoy reading them.”
“Through Librify, we will be able to share Target’s ‘Club Picks’ and, for those who prefer physical books, easy access to purchase in-store or via Target.com,” Miller told Twin Cities Business. “It is a great solution for bringing a digital book experience to the Target guests who have long enjoyed our ‘Club Picks’ and curated selections.”
In addition to Target offering its guests more digital experiences, the partnership will allow Librify to promote itself on a much larger scale through Target’s marketing power. Additionally, according to USA Today, there will be promotions and discounts for Target shoppers who reach Librify.com through Target’s own website.
Target has always offered physical books in store but this marks its first venture into the digital book space. While Target will be Librify’s retail partner, it will not itself offer any e-books; Librify will still own its own application.
Throughout last year, Target took steps to increase its emphasis on digital channels. In September, it launched its own video streaming service, called Target Ticket, that offers about 30,000 movie and television titles to buy, rent, download, or stream.
Some of its other digital expansions include the acquisition of beauty products e-retailer DermStore Beauty Group, as well as e-commerce sites ChefsCatalog.com and Cooking.com. Target also expanded its digital operations out west in May, opening an office in San Francisco to focus on finding and fostering partnerships for technological innovation.
In October, the company said its shift to more digital offerings changed its business model to the point that it needed to cut jobs that it saw as “duplications,” which resulted in the loss of 150 employees from its corporate staff in the Twin Cities.