Founded by a former Googler who moved to Hawaii to write her first novel, Literacy is an Austin, TX-based startup platform that combines community and content with trusted advice. Originally launched as a book box subscription for young readers, the company launched a successful line of celebrity-run book clubs during the pandemic when the vast majority of American adults were stuck at home searching something to do and new ways to connect. Featuring the likes of the basketball star Stephen CurryNobel laureate and activist Malala Yousafzaibusiness tycoon Richard Bransonand American footballer Megan Rapinoe When launched, Literati book club differed from other celebrity-led and high-profile book club communities, like the one that started it all, from Oprah, avoiding publishing schedules and novelties to emphasize the personal and organized taste of the “literati” behind the bookbox. Richard Branson, for example, highlights adventure and advice books that were instrumental in shaping his career and mindset. While Steph Curry’s book focuses on the athlete’s favorite reads that highlight underrepresented authors and promote social justice issues through diverse protagonists.
The platform promotes a wide range of talent, literary and otherwise, including author Elin Hilderbrand, bed queen of the range; travel company Dark Atlas; literary sweetheart Roxane Gay; book club curations by the Joseph Campbell Foundation; bestselling authors choice Susan Orleans and Lost Cheryl; speaker and creativity expert Austin Cleon; twice winner of the National Book Award Neighborhood Jesmyn; and health psychologist and bestselling author Kelly McGonigal. Literati users can subscribe to each individual’s book club box, which tends to revolve around a different intellectual theme or brand and costs $24.95 per month. The platform’s goal is to cultivate a love of reading, and subscribers also have access to Literati’s exclusive app where they can discuss each book with other users as part of a community. virtual book club.
Building on its success, Literati recently raised a $40 Million Series B Round, and turned to a new community of talent for its next generation of book club: digital creators and influencers. As consumers increasingly turn to social platforms and channels for recommendations, the role of influencer has evolved from sponsored content to one of trusted discovery, and the platform has leveraged ICT Tac actor TinxDancer Chloe Lukasiakvlogger Nicole Laenoand musician Brynn Elliot to organize their own book clubs, ensuring that there really is a book for everyone.
This article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ report, Selling to Buyers Beyond the Online Store.