Cambridge-based online book deal service BookBub announced this morning that it has raised $3.8 million in Series A from NextView Ventures, Founder Collective, Avalon Ventures, and Bloomberg Beta.
The company’s book discovery platform starts by allowing users to create a profile of their literature tastes. It then informs users — through its website and a daily deals email — about books in their favorite genres and categories that are being discounted by publishers for a limited time. The ebook deals highlighted in the emails and online are curated by teams of BookBub researchers who pore through more than a hundred discounted book submissions each day from authors and publishers, choosing the best 10 and 20 books to feature.
When Scott Kirsner covered BookBub last spring, the company, which was founded in 2012, had more than 1 million customers using the service. Since then, that number has nearly tripled with close to 3 million members signed up.
Prior to the Series A funding, BookBub said it has been profitable and entirely bootstrapped (not receiving any outside investment).
Of the company’s growth, BookBub founder and president Josh Schanker said “we’ve come a long way and we are now driving a lot of sales for the industry.”
Schanker started and sold two other Boston-based companies, BargainDog/Sombasa Media (which was acquired by About.com) and Sconex (which was acquired by Alloy), before founding BookBub.
Founder Collective’s Eric Paley, who wrote an article today on founder heroes that features Schanker, said that “it’s pretty amazing what BookBub has done. They’ve become the primary independent channel for publishers and authors to promote their books.”
“Everyone used to go to bookstores to discover books,” Paley said. “We used to wander around bookshelves in bookstores, looking for books to buy, and that is gone.” He explained that publishers and authors have historically spent billions of dollars on sales forces going out to bookstores for marketing promotions.
“That’s not really a meaningful, effective way to promote books anymore,” Paley added. “These guys are already moving the industry.”
Based out of the Cambridge Innovation Center, BookBub has 20 full-time employees and is looking to make a big hiring push with the new funds.