Librarian Book Recommendation App

$5,495 of $8,253 goal

Raised by 60 people in 34 months
Michelle Zaffino  SAN FRANCISCO, CA

The next book you read could change your life…it just has to find you first.

With the physical spaces devoted to the browsing and inquiry of books becoming rarer and rarer, it’s hard to know where to go and who to ask to find the next great book to read. Quality book reviews and book recommendations are now more important than ever. And in a time when anyone and everyone are offering their opinions, how do you know who to trust?

We have the solution: In the Stacks is creating an application that will aggregate book recommendations by some of the most authoritative sources on the topic — librarians from around the world. Users will get top picks for their bookshelf based on preferences and expert data generated by a Librarian Brain database. The ITS book recommender product will debut at the mobile app pavilion at the American Library Association conference in San Francisco in June 2015. Since the average cost to build an app is $6453 (TechCrunch, January 2014) and the exhibitor cost at ALA's mobile app pavilion is $800, $7253 is the minimum amount we aim to raise. (Update: In the Stacks is also demo-ing our product at BookExpo America StartUp Alley in May 2015, and we've added $1000 in expenses to participate in this oportunity, for a total funding goal of $8253).

How the project started
I started doing video book reviews in graduate school and now 5 years later, I'm a librarian and my video book review website is still going strong with almost 200 episodes. My team and I would like to re-energize our project by creating this app that allows people to find their next favorite book right from their phone.

How it works
When users log into their application, their book preferences are combined with librarian book recommendations to generate a list of top book picks, just for them.

We want to give people someone they can rely on as a trusted source for book recommendations. Librarians are the most authoritative literary source, and our users can go to In the Stacks for their next great read.

We want to strengthen and grow our product in order to get it out to more people, in more places, in a more advanced way. Your feedback on In the Stacks is important to us. Please, help librarians build a revolutionary app that they can turn to for advice every time they walk into a bookstore or library, or shop online. Your support is essential to our success. If you think In the Stacks is useful, interesting, or important, we're asking you to please: support it, use it, and share it with your friends and family.

Find your next read In the Stacks! More at

Please note:
—Offline contribution options available. Please email
—The fabulous supporters of this campaign are enthusiastically participating in the pre-sale of our product. This is not an offer to purchase securities. Investor pitch available upon request.
—Goal amount includes building a mobile app for iPhone and Android. Budget available upon request.
—Using GoFundMe allows us to run an 18-month long fundraising campaign, right up until and during our June 2015 private beta launch. This feature is not available on the other crowdfunding platforms.

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Update 27
Posted by Michelle Zaffino
9 hours ago
Update from In the Stacks & Demo Video

Hello In the Stacks Crowdfunders,

We just returned from demonstrating the Librarian Brain book recommendation product to our peers at an industry conference. It was very well received!

If you're interested in viewing the video of our "internal alpha" product that we showed, we would like to share it with you:

There's been a lot going on In the Stacks! Other updates include us being named startup-in-residence at the Mechanics' Institute in SF, having been accepted into an accelerator program and bringing on our tech advisor Steve into the CTO role.

We got serious about pitching, showing traction and landing B2B customers. We pitched to an angel investor who said that if we could get a customer to sign a letter of intent for $5K in billings a month, and if we added a second founder, they would consider funding us. We're halfway there. Stay tuned. We are updating the app again and then will finally send it to you for user testing.

Thanks for reading!—Michelle & Steve
Let me know if you want more stickers!!!
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Update 26
Posted by Michelle Zaffino
8 months ago
In the Stacks Book Recommendation App Update: All donors should have received crowdfunder perks by now, including the #Booklover book bags for donations over $50. Please get in touch if you have not received our gift.

We're happy to announce we are demo-ing the app at an event on March 30 in San Francisco. If you would like to attend and see us demonstrate the app in person, here's more information:

On March 30, 2016, the Mechanics’ Institute in San Francisco is hosting an exhibition of women in tech and the products we’ve invented. Early-stage startups from a wide range of niches will demo their products to potential customers, investors and users; in the audience future founders will mix with inspiring speakers, potential partners, established startups and event sponsors.

Here’s more:

Thank you again for your support and love of librarians. See you there,
Michelle Z.

p.s. Johann Strauss Jr.'s Wine Women and Song inspired the name of the event.
It's the precursor to the saying Sex Drugs and Rock & Roll. Taryn and the MI want to support us, because startup founders are renegades, who follow their own path and unique impulses, and most of all, follow their passions <3. We work hard and deserve some recognition during Women's History Month.

p.p.s If you can't make it to the event and are a beta tester who donated $25 or more, we will be in touch with a link to the app via email.
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Update 25
Posted by Michelle Zaffino
17 months ago

It's been 18 months, 2 crowdfunders, 2 startup competitions, and 72 donations to the librarians In the Stacks, and I can't believe it's taken this long to create a YODA MEME.

If you believe in Yoda, and in ITS, use the force and give what you can, today. Cheers—Michelle Z. from In the

p.s. We're so close! $=<3
Yoda's Backing Librarians In the Stacks
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Update 24
Posted by Michelle Zaffino
18 months ago
THANK YOU for the 72 generous donations to the In the Stacks Book Recommendation App!

Between the In the Stacks Women Startup Challenge on Crowdrise ( and our GoFundMe campaigns, we're only $298 short of our goal! AND I've built several screens of the mobile version of the app (more on testing them here:

We're fundraising for the next three weeks, up until our demo at the American Library Association conference on June 25. DONATE today and we'll reach our goal! If we surpass our goal, stretch goal funding will go towards building the Librarian Brain database and the new In the Stacks website.

Cheers #booklovers—Michelle Z. from In the
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$5,495 of $8,253 goal

Raised by 60 people in 34 months
Created January 20, 2014
32 months ago
31 months ago
Marcus Banks
32 months ago
Mari Kochan
32 months ago

I love your app!

Cosette Ratliff
24 months ago

Took your library Survey through FB page East Bay Off Desk

Samantha Durbin
34 months ago

Best of luck!

michelle richmond
34 months ago
Steve Thomas
21 months ago
26 months ago (Monthly Donation)
24 months ago (Monthly Donation)
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