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Apps

Bookspotting App Tracks Scenes From Scottish Books

bookspottingPublishing Scotland has partnered with technology company Spot Specific to develop an app that plots the locations of scenes from Scottish books onto a map.

The app is called Bookspotting and is available for iOS and Android devices. It includes data points from thousands of books ranging from fiction to children’s literature. Users can search for characters, authors, themes and by location. The app contains recommended literary tours, guiding users through the adventures of characters. It works without an Internet connection, so that readers don’t have to find an Internet connection to use it. There is even a feature that directs users to local book stores.

The app also serves as a book recommendation engine, suggesting Scottish reads based on a user’s preferences. (Via The BBC).

Narrative Magazine Now Has iOS & Android Apps

narrativeLiterary publication Narrative has a new iOS and Android app, that gives readers access to the magazine’s entire back catalog for free. This expands the digital readership of the publication beyond just Kindle.

The app features stories, poems, essays, interviews, cartoons, and features by authors including Joyce Carol Oates, Tobias Wolff, Alice Munro, E. L. Doctorow, and Jane Smiley, among others. The publication will automatically update the app every week with new content including the featured Story of the Week and Poem of the Week. The app also features the “iStory” and “iPoem,” features which are short reads as selected by authors. The idea is to help readers with busy schedules fit literature into their everyday lives.

“Our goal in the evolution of digital media is to encourage and support literature by connecting readers and writers as directly as possible,” stated Tom Jenks, cofounder and editor of Narrative.

How to Publish Your Texts Online

tawkersTech startup Tawkers has launched a new app that writers can use to publish text conversations online publicly.

Why would you want to do this? There could be a promotional or educational value, or a way to start a public debate. Perhaps you are a fiction author and you and another fiction writer are discussing books via text. Or perhaps you are a journalist and you have an interesting exchange with a world leader via text. There are lots of possibilities.

These conversations are published on the Tawkers website where readers can read and comment on the exchanges. You must get permission from the person you are texting with to publish your conversations. Check it out:

Click the “Start A Tawk” button to begin the quick and easy process of leading your own Tawk. From there, you’ll be shown how to invite your co-host, choose a start time and give your Tawk a title. As soon as your co-host accepts your invitation, both of you can share out the link to friends, followers and fans from across social networks, inviting them to come join the audience. The crowd gathers in a separate audience Forum where they can comment on the main conversation taking place between the two Hosts. At any time, Hosts have the power to “Spotlight” an audience comment, which threads it into their two-way chat and allows them to respond in front of everyone.

Rooster App Imagines eReading in Short Installments

roosterThe creative forces behind Plympton and DailyLit have a new serialized fiction app designed to make reading more convenient to do during short windows of time. 

The idea behind Rooster is to make it easy for busy people to read books over a series of 15-minute increments. Rather than wasting time playing Candy Crush on the subway, Rooster hopes people will spend this time reading books, which are served up in bite-sized installments. Every month, the app releases two new books — one work of contemporary fiction, another classic. For $4.99 a month, you can access both books through the app.

We caught up with Yael Goldstein Love, Rooster’s co-founder/editorial director, to discuss the project.
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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

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