Target forms digital council ahead of e-book subscription launch

Target (NYSE: TGT) has formed a new Digital Advisory Council to help the retailer brainstorm and implement new omnichannel strategies in advance of a new e-book program.

The council consists of four tech superstars: CEO and OkCupid founder Sam Yagan, Orbitz Worldwide's Roger Liew, Bain Capital Ventures' Ajay Agarwal and Accompani CEO/former Google Analytics lead Amy Chang.

Target said the council will accelerate innovation and guide digital strategies as the company devises plans to use technology to enhance the shopping experience, both online and in stores.

"We need to accelerate our digital transformation and become a leading omnichannel retailer," said interim CEO John Mulligan during an earnings call.

One of the first digital innovations that the retailer has on the horizon is a new e-book club and subscription service, in partnership with start-up Librify.

Target hasn't said when the new service will launch, but could announce this week at the BookExpo in Manhattan, reports USA Today.

Librify is a Web company and social platform that offers e-book subscriptions for $8.99 a month. Members can create bookshelves based on their favorite categories and connect their Facebook accounts to receive alerts and updates on their friends' book choices and favorite reads.

"It is a great solution for bringing a digital book experience to the Target guests who have long enjoyed our 'Club Picks' selections," said Target spokeswoman Erica Julkowski. "We are proud to partner with Librify to offer a differentiated experience, which focuses on social connectivity and book clubs."

Target's Club Picks are chosen by Target employees each month based on their personal reading lists and recommendations.

Librify offers 500,000 e-book titles, roughly half of what Amazon offers through the Kindle.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Target has unveiled plans to offer subscription-based services. Target is expanding its subscription service for frequently purchased items, increasing the number of products available from 200 to more than 1,500. At the program's launch in September 2013, there were about 150 items that could be ordered on a subscription basis. Today, that number stands at nearly 1,600 items across a much wider array of products.

For more:
-See this USA Today article
-See this Target blog post

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