Thursday, 3 May 2012

The phenomenon of the book app

By Story Star correspondent Jane Haynes

It seems that “app” is the word of the moment – quite literally. Aside from being at the forefront of technology in every industry and market of recent times, it was in fact voted the American Dialect Society’s ‘Word of the Year’ only two years ago, indicative in itself of the global significance and popularity of this latest software programme. 

While the app revolution has changed the face of the business world, enabling increased productivity, interaction and creativity while on-the-go, the app’s popularity does not stop at the working environment. With the creation and overwhelming popularity of millions of apps relating to the worlds of movies, music and gaming the face of entertainment has also been revolutionised, along with our interaction with these various industries.

In-keeping with the recent digital revolution which is sweeping the book publishing industry, it too has been subjected the app treatment, with thousands of them relating to authors, popular titles and every aspect of the publishing industry now available to the avid reader. Now they can enjoy exclusive content and extras pertaining to their favourite stories, old and new, on every modern convenience from their laptop to their phones, from e-readers to tablets. 

Whether seeking information on-the-go or merely looking for some entertainment to distract you from your train journey, the app has it all, and the book app specifically is working wonders for the industry.While the phenomenon of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter were the craze of recent years, with each author and publication, modern and backdated, creating fan pages and interest groups, the book app is the latest PR tool to be tested out. And it is proving overwhelmingly successful thus far.

As we covered in a report a few weeks ago, the organisation committee behind this year’s World Book Day tempted in the readers with a specially designed app which promised exclusive streamed content and extras from the likes of Philip Pullman. In what transpired as the most successful World Book Day of recent years, it was digital features such as this app which significantly contributed to such success.

When one peruses over the array and extent of content covered by these apps, however, it is not easy to see why publishers and industry experts view the book app as their ultimate PR weapon of choice. There literally is an app for everything even remotely related to the publishing industry. There are audiobooks covering every genre from Disney to time-old classics, every topic from Bible stories to jokes and all that comes in between, puzzles and games, spell books and handbooks. The range of choice is staggering with every age and interest catered for – a modern phantasmagoria for the lover of all things literary.

As the embracing of other modern technological innovations in the publishing industry has proven, right now there is no greater tool in the effort to encourage, promote and sustain an interest in reading among all ages. Throughout history people have always tried to make reading ‘hip’, the ‘in’ thing to be doing in order to promote broadening of the mind and an appreciation of literature; and while traditionalists may take a negative view on the transforming effect which technological innovations have had on the industry, it cannot be denied that they may finally have achieved this goal. 

Today it is cool to be seen carrying around your Kindle. Thanks to apps we are becoming experts in our area of interest, whether that is comic books, Disney tales or Edgar Allen Poe novels. Technology is broadening our access to information, and while becoming tech-savvy is the way forward, thanks to the book app so is becoming literature-savvy. 


  1. Book apps have changed my son's whole attitude towards reading. He's dyslexic so dreads reading, but the multi-sensory approach that book apps deliver engages him with stories in a whole new way.

    In fact, he often chooses storybook apps over games on the iPad and his iPod touch. And THAT'S nothing short of a miracle!


  2. Hello Karen. Thank you very much for your son's story. It is great to know how this publishing technology has helped him love reading. Let's hope it helps many other children as well.