Bloomsbury, the publisher behind the hit book series 'Harry Potter', has announced that it has plans to create the MySpace of the book world. With the final 'Potter' coming out later this year, and amidst falling profits, the company sees entering the social media space as a way of filling the void; both through its own investments and acquisitions.
From the UK's Independent newspaper:
Nigel Newton, the chairman and chief executive, said he was looking for deals in its core markets of the UK, Germany and the US. "We are now actively seeking larger acquisitions and looking at companies that not only complement existing activities but broaden our media involvement," he said.
He said the company was seeking funding from a third party to help it launch a literary alternative to the likes of online communities such as YouTube and Bebo.
Newton is also quoted in the article as saying: "no one has yet done the same for books, especially in a way which will benefit all the main players in the book business."
Of course there are already lots of sites that have created social networking around the consumption of books -- often referred to as 'social cataloging sites', players include LibraryThing, Shelfari, and Gurulib (Librarytwopointzero has a good overview of all three). Most social cataloging sites tie into Amazon through being an affiliate, so perhaps that's what Newton means when he says that no site exists that benefits "all the main players". Though a Bloomsbury-owned social network would benefit Bloomsbury the most.