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Apps

Zola Books Makes iOS App Social

zolabooksZola Books has updated its iOS reading app. The update comes a couple of months after the company acquired the social recommendation app Bookish.The acquisition brought new technology and social sharing capabilities to Zola. With the new update, Zola is adding the ability for readers to add comments in a book on a line by line basis, as well as to share inside of books. The app is also now preloaded with 17 classic books. In addition, the app update now allows users to sign in using Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Goodreads.

The update comes as the social reading business has been shaken up in recent weeks. Last month, Readmill revealed plans to shutter its social reading platform. On the flip side, Wattpad announced $46 million in funding.

 

Wattpad Raises $46 Million in Series C Funding

wattpadmobile304Digital writing community Wattpad has raised $46 million in Series C funding. The money will help fund an expansion in the company’s team in Toronto. Wattpad is planning to move to a new downtown office space at the end of the month to accommodate the growing team. The money will also go towards supporting product development and community growth.

“We’ve grown 200% since this time last year and tens of thousands of people join the Wattpad community each day,” stated Allen Lau, Wattpad CEO and co-founder. “We’re on-track to become one of the most successful consumer Internet companies in the world. With this latest investment we’ll continue to build a Toronto company that has global impact.”

According to Wattpad’s latest revelations, the company now has 25 million members worldwide, who collectively spend 6 billion minutes a month engaging with Wattpad content a month. Interestingly, Wattpad is the leading app in the Philippines. In addition, 10 percent of overall Wattpad traffic comes from Spanish-speaking countries.

 

 

A Literary Map of San Francisco

literarycityThe San Francisco Chronicle has created a literary map of San Francisco online called The Literary City.

The interactive map plots literary facts from around the Bay Area onto a Google Map. Readers can find locations from novels, see where authors lived and wrote, as well as read passages from books set in the city. The map also includes a list of bookstores and Literary Journals that are currently active in the city.

Check it out:

This interactive literary map of San Francisco celebrates the region’s storied past and tracks its ever-evolving present with descriptions and locations of independent booksellers, a compilation of roughly 300 Bay Area authors, dozens of landmarks, and writers’ passages about places that fired their imagination.

BitTorrent Sync Now Available on the Kindle Fire

Screen-Shot-2013-09-05-at-10.00.46-PMFile sharing platform BitTorrent’s newKindle Fire app has gone live. The BitTorrent Sync app lets users synchronize encrypted folders and files across multiple devices.

The company has been experiencing momentum in recent weeks. Last week the company released BitTorrent Sync 1.3 for their Android and iOS, as well as a new mobile platform for Windows Phone.

The app is designed as an alternative to the cloud for big files. Users don’t have to worry about compressing files before uploading them. The transfers are encrypted and data and personal information are protected by private keys which are not stored on a server in the cloud. The app is free and is available in 10 languages including: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Chinese and Portuguese.

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.”

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