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Apps

Penguin Random House Audio Team Launches The ‘Volumes’ App

VolumesThe Penguin Random House Audio team has developed a new discovery app called “Volumes.”

With this free app, readers can listen to clips from works by Jodi PicoultSophie Kinsella, and Jim Gaffigan. Sometimes, full-length audiobooks will be made available at no charge. At the moment, users can download a free digital copy of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which features the voice acting talents of Jim Dale.

Her’s more from the press release: “As part of the app’s launch, and to encourage users to give listening a try, Penguin Random House Audio is working with Literacy Partners to donate one audiobook (up to 25,000 audiobooks) for every person that downloads the app and pledges to listen. Listeners can take the pledge on Random House Audio’s Facebook page.” What are your favorite audiobooks?

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NaNoWriMo Tip #10: 3 Ways to Tackle Writer’s Block

Murakami QuoteEven the most seasoned authors tangle with writer’s block. We’ve collected three methods to help with this affliction so that NaNoWriMo participants can continue to progress with the projects.

(1) iPad users can try out the “Unstuck” app to access digital tools and encouragement from an empathetic community.

(2) Grammy Award winner Sting was able to beat his writer’s block by drawing inspiration from other people’s stories. The memory of the the shipyard workers he knew from his youth lead him to write the songs for The Last Ship musical.

(3) American Born Chinese graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang forces himself to write “horrible, amateurish, grammatically incorrect, barely comprehensible sentences.” At some point, “ the decent sentences start coming out.”

This is our tenth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

NaNoWriMo Tip #7: Always Carry a Notepad

evernoteIdeas can come at any time. All writers, that certainly includes NaNoWriMo participants, should get in the habit of carrying around a notepad to jot down their thoughts at a moment’s notice.

These days, there are other ways to doodle and scribble besides using pen and paper. The Evernote team recently released the Penultimate app for iOS mobile device users; the developers made it a mission to give users the “most natural digital handwriting experience on iPad.”

This is our seventh NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

Scribd Subscribers to Have Access to 30,000 Audiobooks

Scribd 200Scribd will add 30,000 audiobooks to its library.

Subscribers to the digital book streaming service will have access to both new releases and popular backlist titles. Some of the audiobooks that have been made available include Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, Roberto Bolaño’s novel The Savage Detectives, and Brené Brown’s nonfiction book Daring Greatly.

Here’s more from the press release: “The addition of this extensive audiobooks selection, which includes titles from Blackstone, HarperCollins, Scholastic and Naxos, to Scribd’s existing library of more than half a million eBooks represents the largest unlimited-access offering of eBooks and audiobooks available today…Listeners can browse special audio-only collections curated by Scribd’s editorial staff, including collections arranged by length, narrator, and subject, from ‘Shakespearean Actors Reading Shakespeare’ to ‘Roadtrip Listening: SF to LA,” to “What to Listen to on the Way to a Job Interview.’”

Tom Hanks Types a Book of Short Stories

TomHanksHeadshotGiven his affinity for typewriters and his collection of favorite models, including a Hermes 2000, a 1930s Remington, and a midcentury Royal, we imagine Tom Hanks tapped out first drafts for the book he just sold to Alfred A. Knopf. Images of his typewriters inspired a series of short stories.

According to the New York Times: “’The stories are not about the typewriters themselves, but rather the stories are something that might have been written on one of them,’ Mr. Hanks said in a statement released by Knopf on Monday.”

In September, Hanks shared the origin story for his typewriter love with NPR’s Audie Cornish, “I ended up just having them around because they’re beautiful works of art, and I ended up collecting them from every ridiculous source possible. It really kicked off probably when I had a little excess cash. But better to spend it on $50 typewriters than some of the other things you can blow show-business money on.”

He also discussed with Cornish how using a typewriter changes the writing process:

“It makes me work a little slower, and when you work a little slower, you work a little bit more accurately. … I like operating a little bit slower. Typing on an actual typewriter on paper is only a softer version of chiseling words into stone.”

Hanks’ book of short stories follows the release in August of his writing app, Hanx Writer, which simulates a typewriter keyboard and action, and his 2013 New York Times op-ed, “I Am TOM. I Like to TYPE. Hear That?”

Oyster Launches a New Book Lists Feature

OysterOyster has added Book Lists to its eBook streaming service. This new feature will allow for greater discoverability.

Readers can build and share lists of their favorite titles. As a subscriber scans a list from the app on their mobile device, they can click on a title that interests them and instantly start reading.

According to the Oyster blog, the company has reached out to different groups and authors to kick off the launch. Organizations such as Warby Parker, Blue Bottle, and the Rhode Island School of Design have curated their own special lists. The group of writers who joined in include The Glass Castle memoirist Jeanette Walls, The Devil Wears Prada novelist Lauren Weisberger, and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon.

Capstone Young Readers Launches the CapReader App

BatmanCapstone Young Readers has released a new eBook program called CapReader.

All of the digital books available through this app contains enhanced features such as read-along audio and text highlighting. According to the press release, the initial launch allows users to access a library 1,100 eBooks.

The titles represent a wide array of genres including toddler books, picture books, chapter books, fiction books, graphic novels, and nonfiction books. In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Batman comic series, every download of the CapReader app comes with a free special edition of Batman: Prisoner of the Penguin.

HarperCollins Releases the ’1D Official Book’ Companion App

One DirectionHarperCollins hired Re:Systems to design and develop a companion application for the One Direction autobiography, Who We Are. The publisher released the app on September 24th; the book came out on October 7th.

This free app, available for both iOS and Android devices, allows fans of this popular boy band to interact with the book. It has been downloaded more than 60,000 times within the last two weeks.

Here’s more from The Drum: “Using the app, built for iOS and Android mobile devices, 1D fans can activate hidden, never-before-seen content by placing their mobile device over motifs and photographs within the book, as illustrated by the band’s welcome in-app video. This includes exclusive access to photos, videos, interviews, intimate clips from the band’s first audiobook and quiz questions, fed into the app throughout the year via the CMS. Points are collected as users answer quiz questions correctly, allowing hidden content, or ‘fan extras,’ to be unlocked.”

Scholastic Debuts App to Stir Discussions Between Parents & Kids

image001Scholastic Parent & Child magazine has released a new ad-supported mobile app called KidQ, which is designed as a conversation starter for parents and kids.

The app poses a number of questions such as: Why is the sky blue? Why do we say “ears” of corn? How does your brain talk to your body. The app then gives answers with explanations which readers are encouraged to discuss. Using the app, parents can share their kid’s cute responses via Twitter and Facebook.

The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

Evernote Now Lets Users Create eBooks

evernote304The popular note taking app Evernote has a new feature that lets users produce an eBook or PDF directly from the app.

The new tool comes as part of an integration with self-publishing platform FastPencil. Users can publish a group of notes from Evernote or their entire notebook by importing the pages into FastPencil’s self-publishing platform from within the Evernote app. There is an option to edit, collate, format and create a table of contents. Once the files are ready, a writer can publish them on the web or in print through FastPencil’s partnership with Gung-Ho.

Users can also use FastPencil’s distribution network which includes Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kindle, iPad, Sony eReaders and Ingram to self-publish their titles.

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