Local authors Terry Pratchett, Dorothy Koomson and Julie Cohen were among the first to join the 'My Independent Bookshop' network by opening their own virtual bookshops and giving people an inside-the-covers look at their favourite reads.
The initiative, launched by Penguin Random House
– the country's biggest book publisher – allows book lovers to set up a virtual bookshop, share and review their favourite reads, and discover books online.
Readers can set up their shop with twelve books at a time on their shelves – changing the display as often as they choose by season, genre or mood – the possibilities are endless.
They can give and request personal recommendations among the community, while integration with social media makes it easy to share their collections
At launch there were 400 new 'bookshops', with more being opened every day.
As part of the registration process, 'My Independent Bookshop' users can choose theirfavourite real-world independent bookshop to connect with.
Brighton-based author Dorothy Koomson,
who has connected her online 'bookshop' to Hove's City Books
"Whenever I'm asked which books I like to read or to recommend novels similar to mine, I struggle to come up with an answer because there are so many wonderful books out there.
"That's why this project from Penguin Random House UK is so brilliant: anyone can get an insight into what writers and other book lovers read and then try them out.
"I've had a look at a few other authors" shops and I've made a note to try out some of the books they"ve mentioned.
"I can't wait to order them – even though I'll just be adding to my already precariously high "to be read" pile."
Users can bring together their favourite shops from across the platform to create their own personal high street with''shop owners' as diverse as their best loved authors, closest friends, or local librarian, to help them find complementary and unexpected new reads..
Paul Sweetman, owner of City Books, added:
"We are thrilled to be part of 'My Independent Bookshop' and to hear that Dorothy Koomson has chosen to connect her virtual shop with ours.
"Not only can we display and review our twelve favourite books, but we can encourage our customers to do the same and so build a new community online and extend our reach out beyond Brighton."