Lit Vox offers highly personalised book recommendations—for free
by Tom Hoban
I decided to found LitVox having left my ten year position at Hodges Figgis at the start of the first lockdown, around 500 years ago as it seems now.
I had worked as a member of the management team at Hodges and then as Commercial Manager for Waterstones in Ireland. It was while working there that I met Aisling, my fiancée and the other major founder here. It started off as a sneaky bookshop/office romance and has somehow developed into a long-term relationship/business partnership, so as you can see, we’ve managed to thoroughly kill the romance!
Our goal is pretty simple—we want to get Irish people reading more. To this end, we offer detailed, highly personalised book recommendations to anyone who uses our service, completely for free.
The form can be found on our website, it takes about a minute to fill out, and we get back to every recommendations request within a day. You can include as much (or as little) information as you want on the form. The idea is that rather than an algorithm like Amazon or the huge retailers, your recommendations come from a real bookseller, who analyses each recommendations request and only recommends books that we’re certain the customer will love.
As we said, this service is offered for free, but the customer can choose to buy the books if they like. We have a dedicated team working on kids’ recommendations (both former Dubray books heads from Galway) and we offer a gift recommendations service as well.
Over 4000 Irish people (and a chunk from abroad) have now used our service, and it’s only getting busier! Following on the incredible success we had with this service in January and February, we launched and then hugely expanded our online bookshop. Our bookshop’s range grows by the day, and we fully expect within a couple of months to have the largest online range of any book retailer in Ireland.
We’re all rooted deeply in the Irish book scene, so as you can imagine we take Irish writers, books and publishing very seriously., and devote a considerable amount of energy into promoting new Irish writers and talent.
We also offer a book subscriptions service. It’s highly personalised just like the recommendations service, and you can get your book bundles delivered to your door, every month. These were a huge hit as the effects of lockdown sank in during the winter.