Goodreads has become a global phenomenon, with more than 30 million accounts, but there have been other significant success stories, as well. Lubimy Czytac, a Polish service offering users a place to read and review a number of different works, has not received a great deal of notice in the English-speaking press, but with more 2 million unique users and more than 400K registered accounts, its success can no longer be ignored.
As you might expect in an online book club, the service allows users to build up a library, write reviews, and receive recommendations for other works that you may find interesting. Other than the section for reading books, there is a section for special offers and competitions, reading interviews with authors, read news from the world of literature, and more.
They also offer an app (available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone), which, in addition to providing the mobile version of desktop features, allows users to find information on a particular book by snapping a photo of its cover. The service is free to end-users and a representative from the company tells me that they generate revenue from ads, partnerships with online book shops, and book promotions.
In a startup world dominated by men, one of the most notable aspects of this company is its female founder, Izabela Sadowska, who created it back in 2011. Sadowska has since ceded 90% of the company (retaining 10%) to Grupa Wydawnicza Znak, which is one of the oldest and largest publishers in Poland. Financial terms of the investment have not been revealed.
Recently, we covered Polish competitor Booklikes, a similar service in many respects. One of the most obvious differences is that Booklikes is available in English, German, and Polish, which Lubimy Czytac is exclusively designed for Polish-language users.