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Kobo acquires Shelfie to help turn your physical library into a digital one

Why it matters to you

If your physical bookshelf is overflowing with titles, it may be time to digitize it. Kobo has acquired Shelfie to help you do that.

An e-reading company has quietly snapped up an e-book platform that will help digitize your physical library. Last week, Canadian company Rakuten Kobo Inc. acquired Shelfie, a service that allowed users to obtain free or discounted eBook versions of books they already owned in hard (or paper) back. As part of the deal, Kobo will be integrating Shelfie’s features directly into its own e-readers.

Four-year-old Shelfie previously allowed users to take a photo of their bookshelves and find digital versions of their collections, all free of charge or at a discounted rate. Shelfie also used those titles as a starting point for further recommendations, allowing users to expand their libraries. While the app actually ceased operations this January, it’s found new life in a new partnership.

As per a blog post on Shelfie’s website, Kobo will be working alongside the app to give readers the chance to transfer their electronic libraries to Kobo’s platform. And over the course of the next few months, Kobo will be helping readers add their physical libraries to their reading history as well, thereby allowing the company to make tailored reading recommendations for the most voracious of literary enthusiasts.

“We know our best customers move fluidly between formats, reading digitally and in print, and we welcome this opportunity to bring their entire reading life together, “Michael Tamblyn, CEO, Rakuten Kobo Inc., said. “People who come to Kobo already have a history of reading in print that we don’t want to ignore. This acquisition will allow us to expand our ecosystem by incorporating Shelfie’s innovative advances in book recommendation, discovery, and bundling, which is especially interesting considering our large network of bricks-and-mortar bookselling partners.”

Shelfie’s CEO Peter Hudson echoed these sentiments, noting, “We’re proud of what we’ve built, and in Kobo, have found the perfect platform to expand on what Shelfie has to offer, on a global scale. Finding the next book to read is a challenge that resonates with many booklovers, who increasingly are looking to personal recommendations as opposed to algorithm-based suggestions. With Shelfie’s technology, avid readers will easily be able to find the next must-read book.”