Our Story

Welcome 🤪,

My name is Ben Fox, and I LOVE to read. 

I believe that books build better humans, and I am on a mission to help everyone find the book they didn't know they were looking for. 

I created Shepherd to add magic and serendipity to online book discovery. 

When I look for a new book online, it feels soulless. Online bookstores sell books like toothpaste or powdered gravy mix. Something about that is profoundly wrong. 

Books are magic.

Books are imagination fuel. 

Books change how we see the world.

Books change the direction of our lives.

Books transport us across time and space. 

Books let us see the world through another person's eyes and emotions. 

I believe they are one of the biggest net positives in the world. 

Carl Sagan said it best in Cosmos:

"What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic."

Want to join our adventure? Join our club!

We just launched a membership program for readers and authors. Please help us stay independent and inventing new ways to explore and discover books. 

How does Shepherd add magic and serendipity?

As of June 2023, I've asked 9,000+ authors to share five of their favorite books around a topic, theme, or mood and why they love each book. This infuses each book with a bit of magic and meaning.

Then, we give readers fun and unique ways to follow their curiosity down rabbit holes. Try our bookshelf on science fiction or life satisfactionAt every step, you can meet the person who recommended that book, the book list it came from, and what they are passionate about.

And I want to help authors meet more readers. 

Authors illuminate our world, take us on faraway journeys, and entertain us. There is a growing trend that authors must become their own marketing team. That concerns me because it is tough to do.

I want to make it easier for authors to meet the readers who are most likely to be interested in their books. And I want to do this through a shared love of books and reading. Authors can learn more about how we help them here.

As of June 2023, 9,000+ authors have joined Shepherd.

What was the spark that created Shepherd?

I always wanted to create something around books but could never find a unique approach.

One day I walked into my local indie bookstore and saw little notes from the staff about which books are their favorites and why. I loved that idea because it exposed the passion behind the picks. Shepherd reveals that same passion by asking authors, experts, and interesting people for their favorite books around topics, themes, and moods. 

Are you crazy? Who are you? What is your business model?

I don't think I am crazy (famous last words)! 

Here is more info about me and why I started this websiteAnd here is more information on our business model and marketing plan

If you want early access to new features and to help us with ideas and input, subscribe here

Thanks, Ben

P.S. If you like Shepherd and want to support the project, please join as a founding member or donate (so far, everything is funded from my savings). 100% of what you give goes toward new features, and my goal of hiring a full-time developer next year. 

Get in touch with me!