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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Now a social network for bookworms

IANS  London, October 27, 2010
First Published: 17:07 IST(27/10/2010) | Last Updated: 17:09 IST(27/10/2010)

Penguin is set to launch a social network for teenaged bookworms called Spinebreakers, to keep them interested in reading.

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Penguin views Spinebreakers, the social network, as a crucial part of future-proofing the book industry.

Spinebreakers, as a content website, already exists but does not have any tools which allow its users to communicate and interact about their shared pastime. Instead, it is a site where teenagers write about books and authors.

Anna Rafferty, managing director of Penguin Digital, who founded the site three years ago, told The Telegraph: "I set up the site as I felt there were fewer and fewer places talking about books in a way which appealed to teenagers."

"However, I knew in order for the site to work, it would have to be written and edited by teenagers - which is why we have over 100 deputy editors aged between 14 and 18 looking after the site, and many more contributors of a similar age.

"However, they cannot use the site to communicate, which is why I want to transform the site into the first social network dedicated to books within the next six months."

She said that the site, which attracts 10,000 to 15,000 unique users each month and is still in beta, was not a commercial venture for Penguin, but was hugely important to the company for "future-proofing the book industry."

Spinebreakers does offer branded promotions on the site, but there is no display advertising, reports the Telegraph.

Rafferty also admitted that the company had not "shouted enough" about Spinebreakers, since its launch and would do once it re-launched as a social networking site within in the next six months.

Rafferty recently oversaw the release of The Fry Chronicles, Stephen Fry's new autobiography, which was launched simultaneously as an interactive ebook, hardback novel and iPhone app, called "myFry".


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