Publishers Weekly had an interesting piece recently on a new trend in smart-phone applications. In "The App Boom Hits Publishing," Craig Morgan Teicher writes that apps for iPhones, Blackberrys and other cell phones, which number in the tens of thousands--everything from games to maps to travel reviews--are now focusing on books.
For example, guidebook publisher Lonely Planet has released interactive versions of its guides and phrase books. Says Todd Solkiewicz, president of Lonely Planet for the Americas: "The phrasebooks have audio, which is obviously not in the print book at all, and in the city guides, we have GPS-enabled maps. That's more than repurposing, that's creating something for the specific medium."
As of July, Lonely Planet has seen more than 300,000 phrase books and 100,000 city guides downloaded in iPhones and other devices.
Amazon.com has developed a Kindle app for iPhone, which provides access to 350,000 book titles. Barnes & Noble and Fictionwise have developed an eReader app, also for iPhone, that downloads books to your phone and enables book purchases from other retailers.
Another app helps steer book buyers to independent booksellers. The American Booksellers Association"s Indiebound app provides users with book lists, news updates and a GPS-enabled bookstore finder. Says Matt Supko of the ABA: I know of at least one bookseller who uses it as a sales tool. I have another bookseller who will give a 10% discount to anyone with an iPhone who downloads the app in his store."
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