Hundreds of founders will video call into Startup Alley during TechCrunch Disrupt, ready to showcase what makes their firm unique. Clare Carroll, 24, has a multimedia background, and she calls in from her NYC flat, which also serves as a stock room for hundreds of books she sells online.
The recent Marquette University graduate left her position as an IBM consultant just months ago to launch Folio, an online bookshop that helps Gen Z and millennial readers discover (and then buy) their next favorite books.
Carroll is a one-woman show, handling everything from web design to order fulfillment, social media marketing, and accounting, Carroll noticed that her peers didn’t know where to turn for book recommendations as she rediscovered her passion of reading in confinement. Carroll claims that “Goodreads has benefits,” but that “the UI hasn’t been updated since Amazon bought it” — and she is correct, at least based on the image in TechCrunch’s piece on the acquisition from eight years ago.
“The subject of assisting people in rediscovering their passion of reading struck a chord with me. I couldn’t find what I was looking for online, and I couldn’t believe it wasn’t available: a cool online bookstore. “OK, screw it, I guess I’ll make it,” I thought as I reflected on what I wanted to get out of my work. Bookshop.org and Libro.FM has demonstrated that bookworms desire an alternative to Amazon, and the Storygraph is attempting to create the next Goodreads.
Folio, on the other hand, is in the middle, attempting to solve discovery while also assisting publishers and independent bookstores. Folio currently has over 200 hand-picked books in-store, including bestselling titles like Torrey Peters’ “Detransition, Baby,” Madeline Miller’s “Song of Achilles,” and Michelle Zauner’s “Crying in H-Mart.” “We don’t make a point of having every book in stock. “We’ll never be able to,” Carroll stated emphatically. “We still screen and pre-select for quality even if a book is aimed at my demographic of 18-to-30-year-olds, with a female slant. “It’s unlikely that we’ll ever have more than 1,000 different books.”