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Shelfari Brings Social Networking to Book Reading

Josh Hug
CEO and Cofounder, Shelfari
Seattle, Washington

Josh Hug, 30, cofounded Shelfari, a social-networking site devoted to generating conversations and recommendations around books. Amazon acquired the bibliophilic company in the summer of 2008.

"Our mission is to improve the reading experience. Short of sitting next to a reader with a warm cup of coffee and turning the page for him, the most powerful way to do that is to add a social component. What are other readers of this book thinking? If you liked this book, what are some other favorites of people who did too? With almost 300,000 new titles being published each year in the United States, people need guidance. Even as innovations like the Kindle change how people read, reading tends to be solitary. But we can add things around it that are powerful."

A version of this article appeared in the May 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.