HMV Group has "substantially" backed a social networking site called aNobii, which aims to help readers find buy and share books.
The website, http://www.anobii.com/, has existed since 2006 but was bought recently by internet entrepreneur Matteo Berlucchi, who founded Livestation, a live TV streaming service. Its users span across 20 countries, with most traffic through Italy, Spain, Taiwan and Hong Kong, but this is the first time the site has been launched in the UK.
Users of the site can build their own shelves of books in an online profile, review books, recommend and share titles through Facebook and Twitter and talk with other readers on discussion forums. There is an aNobii app, which allows users to scan barcodes on the back of books and access hundreds of thousands of reviews from other users on the aNobii site, as well as add the books to their library.
The site is planning to launch a transactional service later this year for both print and e-books and was in discussions with retailers about who will provide it. Despite HMV Group taking the stake in the site, Belucchi said no decision had yet been made.