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Beginning on Tuesday, users with a Google Assistant–enabled device, including the Nest smart speakers and displays, will be able to say, “Hey Google, read with Reese’s Book Club” to get exclusive commentary from Witherspoon herself about book selections and hear her personal reviews. Book lovers will also get to take a quiz for personalized recommendations through their Google devices and make purchases through the Google Play book store.
The partnership, which is available globally in English-speaking countries, will give Reese’s Book Club access to the massive reach of Google Assistant, which is available on more than 1 billion devices around the world and is used by more than 500 million people every month, according to Google.
“Reese’s Book Club is a really high priority for us as we continue to build this community of book-loving, book-reading women in a really accessible way globally, and so it was kind of a no-brainer for us,” Harden says of the Google partnership. “It just felt like the perfect next step for us.”
The Google partnership comes on the heels of Hello Sunshine’s sale in August to the still-unnamed media venture led by former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs. The deal, backed by the private equity firm Blackstone and valued at $900 million, is the first of many the media venture is expected to make. (Earlier this month, THR reported that Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Inc. is in talks to be acquired by Mayer and Staggs’ company.)
Harden says the goal of Hello Sunshine and Reese’s Book Club is to find and elevate stories for women and people whose “voices have been so structurally excluded from the storytelling process” and, in some cases, build “guaranteed properties” in unscripted and kids animation.
“Honestly, we’re just executing against our roadmap with the incredible backing of Tom [Staggs] and Kevin [Mayer] and Blackstone, and we’re excited by other companies that come into the [fold] and seeing what opportunities they have for us to all work together,” Harden says. “We sort of haven’t skipped a beat. It’s allowed us to really take a step back and be even more ambitious about the next five to 10 years as a company.”
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