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BookBub raises $7M for its global expansion

E-reader service adds India to US, UK, and Canada markets

Quick: Name the country with the world’s second-largest English-speaking population.

Hint: It has a rapidly growing and educated population that’s reading an increasing number of books.

The country is India, a fact well known to BookBub, a Cambridge business that releases a daily newsletter providing millions of readers deals on e-books. The company was officially launched in India this month, dramatically expanding its reach.

The move was one of several big recent developments at BookBub. Last week, the New England Venture Capital Association named it the Hottest Seed Startup. And the company has just secured $7 million in new equity and debt financing.


“This funding will help us expand our products and services to make it easier for readers to discover great books, and to help authors and publishers reach avid readers,” said Josh Schanker, BookBub’s president.

Worldwide, BookBub has over 5 million members. Outside the United States, the company offers localized services for members in the United Kingdom, Canada, and now India.

Both Schanker and his cofounder, Nick Ciarelli, who came together to start the company in early 2012, have entrepreneurial experience. Schanker launched the youth marketing agency Sconex, which was acquired by Alloy Media. Ciarelli hosted the Apple fan site Think Secret for years, much to the ire of Steve Jobs.

The BookBub service creates a profile of members’ tastes and tells them about e-books of interest, which are offered for free or at discounted rates for a limited time. A Cambridge-based editorial team reviews e-books sent in by publishers and authors to decide which ones will be featured on BookBub. Just 10 to 20 percent of the submissions make the cut.

The curators are a big part of the company’s success thus far, Schanker said. They have technology to examine historical data on how their members have reacted to books across categories and regions. And over time, they will potentially get better at selecting books that fit a particular audience.