Indigo launches new social app

The new Reco app helps book lovers connect with friends.

Book and lifestyle retailer Indigo has launched a new mobile app aimed at connecting book lovers to recommendations from their friends.

Reco, developed by Toronto’s Kinetic Café, has launched for iOS, with an Android version set for the fall. The app allows users to share their favourite books, along with a short recommendation message, with their friends. They can also post recommendations directly for Facebook, through email, text, Twitter and LinkedIn. Another feature allows Reco users to publish complete book lists that anyone can subscribe to.

The app, targeted broadly to book lovers, uses personalization upon sign-up to build a profile of users and tailor recommendations to their interests. Users can also subscribe to curated book lists from experts and a matching algorithm connects users to like-minded people through the app, creating “micro-communities” around areas of interest.

“Reco really started from the idea that the very best book recommendations come from your friends,” says Krishna Nikhil, EVP of print and strategy at Indigo. Unlike Goodreads, another popular app for book lovers, Reco is focused more on recommendations from people users actually know, he says. That’s especially important given that with so many titles available, it can actually be harder to find something to read, he says.

The app also includes an e-commerce component, allowing users to buy books they want through the app (either from Indigo or Kobo in Canada for the e-book version).

Indigo already has its own branded app, focused largely on commerce and users’ ability to shop through their mobile devices. “It really is intended to be something separate from Indigo and we ultimately hope that this can become a global platform,” Nikhil says (the retailer will still promote the app to its customers in-store and through e-mail).

Last year, Indigo also emphasized books as its core business – despite its ongoing expansion of lifestyle-oriented products – with a digital initiative focused on its “Staff Picks.”