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Apps

Slice Bookshelf is Shutting Down

rsz_screen_shot_2013-06-06_at_102731_amBookshelf, a social discovery engine from Slice.com that helps readers find books based on friends’ recommendations, is shutting down.

The discovery tool allowed users to create lists of recommended reads and share these lists with friends. The company explained the reason to GalleyCat via email. “We’re focusing on improving our core product, Slice, developing new features and experiences, and expanding existing ones like Recall Alerts, Price Drop Alerts and package tracking.”

Bookshelf users will be getting an email about the closure along with instructions on how to transfer their account to Goodreads. Users can download their reading data through April 30.

Ownshelf, eBook Sharing App, is on Kickstarter

ownshelfDeveloper Rick Marazzani hopes to raise $7,500 on Kickstarter to fund further development of an app that allows users to share their eBooks.

The app is called Ownshelf. Aiming to be “Goodreads meets Dropbox,” the app lets users search for book recommendations among their friends and then borrow those titles from their friends and vice versa.

Users can upload DRM-free eBooks to their account to create a virtual bookshelf that can be shared with friends. Friends can browse each other’s shelves and vice versa to look for books and then download their friend’s copy. We only recommend using this for public domain books and books in which the authors encourage sharing.

The app has been around in beta since last year, but the company is seeking new funding to help take things to the next level. Here is more from their Kickstarter page: “Our team spent the past year building the infrastructure and Beta website for Ownshelf. Over 20,000 people have signed up so far, helping us test the service, and offering valuable feedback.  Now we are on Kickstarter to build a mobile/tablet app so it is even easier for your friends and family to share eBooks across devices.”

Is Your Writing as Clear as Hemingway’s? This App Can Tell You

hemingwayAdam and Ben Long have created an app that analyzes text with the goal to help make your writing bold and clear like that or Ernest Hemingway.

It’s called Hemingway. “Hemingway highlights long, complex sentences and common errors; if you see a yellow highlight, shorten the sentence or split it,” explains the site. “If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing this sentence to remove the red.”

The New Yorker has more about how it works:

Hemingway uses a formula to judge the “reading level” of a particular selection of writing, which the Longs said is “a measure of how complex the sentence structure is and how big the words you’re using are.” It scored my first paragraph as Grade 14. The app suggests that anything under Grade 10 is a sign of “bold, clear writing.”

The Very Hungry Caterpillar to be Adapted in App Form

storytoysEric Carle’s classic children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which is celebrating its 45th  anniversary this year, will soon be adapted into an app.

This is thanks to a new partnership between interactive book maker StoryToys and The Joester Loria Group, exclusive global licensing agent for The World of Eric Carle. StoryToys has signed a three-year deal to develop a series of apps based on the characters in his books. The app maker will make a number of apps based on Carle’s classic books. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day app will be the first in the series, available on March 20th.

The apps will bring the static drawings to life. Barry O’Neill, CEO of StoryToys, explained that their ”aim is to build beautiful apps that will enable children to interact with their favorite Eric Carle characters in totally new ways.” 

 

Scribd, eBook Subscription Service, Launches Kindle Fire App

scribdBook subscription service Scribd is introducing an app for the Kindle Fire. The app comes as the company is celebrating three million downloads of its Android app. In addition, the company revealed that mobile app usage is up 5x from December 2012 and that Scribd was accessed on 11 million unique mobile devices in December 2013.

The Kindle app comes from user demand. According to the company, more than 100,000 users asked for an app that is compatible with their Kindle Fire device in the last couple of months.

The new app means that Scribd can support all Kindle Fire models. The service does not have an app on any eInk based Kindles, because these devices don’t support third party applications.

 

5 Apps for Copy Editing

dictionary.comWhether you are a self-published author, an editor that works in traditional publishing or a journalist on the go, everyone can benefit from a little copy editing. We’ve put together a list of apps designed to help with the job, from tools that let you edit pages to style guides and reference materials.

We’ve included the app’s name, description and a link so that you can explore these apps further. Check out our list after the jump. Read more

Oceanhouse Media Turns 5

oceanhousemediaOceanhouse Media, the digital publisher that is known for its Dr. Seuss apps, turns 5 this week. The company is taking advantage of its birthday by offering a major sale on its apps from today through Monday.

A number of titles will be available for 50 percent off. The company will also be hosting hourly giveaways on their Facebook page.

Apps on sale for the company’s anniversary include: Bowls, The Kissing Hand, Elmer and the Lost Teddy, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, Just Go to Bed – Little Critter and Berenstain Bears Bedtime Battle. Follow this link to check out the sale.

‘Books I Love’ App Lets Readers Share Their Favorite Books

ilovebooksWashington-based startup Books I Love has created a new social networking app for readers that lets you share your favorite books with friends digitally. Using the free iOS app, you can send and receive book recommendations with friends. You can use the app to recommend a book to one friend at a time or to dozens and there is the option to add a personal note about why you love the book.

“We co-founded our company two years ago to address the problem of readers losing many of their trusted sources of book recommendations,” explained Elizabeth Dimarco, co-founder of Books I Love, via email. ”With this app, we believe we’ve built a way to digitize word-of-mouth recommendations that happen every day – at home, at work, at play- but are rarely captured in the moment.” Read more

Six Libraries Exceed a Million Digital Checkouts This Year: OverDrive

overdrive304Six libraries in North America marked more than 1 million digital checkouts this year, according to digital book distribution company OverDrive. This includes eBooks, audiobooks, music and video files.

The libraries to make OverDrive’s ”Million Digital Checkouts Club” this year include: King County Library System in Washington, which recorded 1.6 million downloads up 25% over 2012; Toronto Public Library, which had 1.5 million digital downloads this year, up 68% over last year; New York Public Library which had 1.2 million digital downloads up 16% from 2012;  Hennepin County Library in Minnesota had 1 million digital downloads in 2013, a 41% increase from 2012; Cleveland Public Library in Ohio, which marked 1 million digital downloads this year,  a 32% increase over 2012; and the  Seattle Public Library which had a million downloads, representing a 22% increase over 2012.

 

 

NPR Readers Search For Books About Sex Combined With Great Writing

nprappInstead of doing a ‘best of’ list, this year NPR Books created an app that lets users match up different tags in order to find a book to read from NPR’s favorite 200 books of the year.

The tool lets you mix and match 21 different categories of reading. The media outlet did an analysis of what kinds of queries its readers were doing and found that the most common combination was the tag ‘Let’s Talk About Sex,’ with ‘Seriously Great Writing,’ a request that summons the books The Book of Goodbyes by Jillian Weise and All That Is by James Salter.

Here is more from NPR:

And here’s the kicker — while people browsing, say, biographies or science books were happy to do it from their desktops, a disproportionate number of you were looking up the sexy sexy books on mobile.

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