Launched by Bangalore-based startup Ugenie, weRead is a social book discovery engine that enables users to recommend and discover books, search for authors, rate and review books as well as share and network with other book lovers. Ugenie received $5 million in funding from BlueRun Ventures and Sierra Ventures in 2006 and was acquired by Lulu in August 2008.
weRead's widget is available on Facebook, Orkut, Yahoo, MySpace and Hi5. It has registered 3 million readers and has 60 million books listed and users can also read some books online via weReader.
Bangalore-based Flipkart started off as an online book store and now has 7 million book titles. It recently expanded into new product categories such as movies, music, games and handsets.
Sachin Bansal, CEO, Flipkart, said, “Acquiring weRead will take our relationship with our customers to a wider plane where we will be their partner in the entire book reading experience – right from purchase to referrals. This would enable us to suggest the most relevant books to our readers based on their previous purchase patterns as well as the kind of books they and their friends like. At Flipkart, all our growth till now has been organic in nature. However, to deliver the best in class service to our customers, we have started to look at acquisitions that will complement our current service offerings. weRead is one such step in this direction.”
The weRead acquisition will give Flipkart a social recommendation platform for buyers to make informed decisions based on recommendations from people within their social network. Currently weRead directs readers to Amazon's shopping cart, this could also be sent towards Flipkart's site. Flipkart refused to comment.
According to the company, weRead will make buying online more social as it will "leverage advanced recommendation technologies and social graph information to enhance customer experience."
Bansal explains, "Many people depend on their friends’ recommendations before making a purchase online and as the weRead application is available across all popular social network sites such as Facebook, Orkut, Yahoo, MySpace and Hi5, we can capture user-generated information such as who, within an individual’s social network, has marked a book as favourite, or has written a detailed review and provided user ratings of books. Eventually, this information will enable our users to decide their purchases based on their social graph's recommendations. This will help make buying online at Flipkart a more holistic experience, right from purchase to referring or recommending ones favourite books to all those within their network."