Three reasons why book apps are here to stay

28th June 2011

At 3Squared we’re confident book apps are here to stay and that’s why we’ve created ‘Digital Edition‘ the book app development service that reduces both development costs and development times making it perfect for publishes and authors wanting to take advantage of digital formats such as the iPad.

Here’s an article over at by Jennifer Whitehead that backs up our thoughts…

Penguin has announced a new iPad app for Jack Kerouac’s classic On The Road, hot on the heels of Faber & Faber’s release of an all-singing, all-dancing The Waste Land app. Book apps are getting a lot of attention, and here’s why I think they will be here to stay even after the novelty factor has worn off.

A new medium
It’s hard to imagine in my lifetime that the need for the long-form printed word will ever go away. Paper might, but words won’t.

Having said that, there are certain types of books where only having words is clearly a compromise to some degree and where readers would get a lot more benefit by combining words with audio, or with moving images or – in the future – the addition of smell and touch.

Book apps give publishers the chance to overcome the limitations of print, but at the same time keeping its best features. No more shall a novice cook have to attempt to the whirlpool egg poaching technique through some vague written instructions and unilluminating still photography! Which brings me to my next point…

Words and Music Go Together
Ever made a playlist that was inspired by a book? I did it after reading Jennifer Egan’s A Visit To The Goon Squad recently; someone once gave me a mix CD of songs from Alan Warner’s Morvern Callar, a favourite book of mine (and a treasured compilation); the author David Nicholls even made a Spotify playlist of songs from his hit novel One Day, revealing what was on a mixtape that is mentioned in the book.

Nick Cave took the concept a step further for the audiobook version of his novel The Death Of Bunny Munro, collaborating with musician Warren Ellis to create an evocative soundtrack. It was designed specifically for listening to with headphones.

Putting books and music together could be a great way for book publishers to enhance reader’s experience (and create some valuable word of mouth publicity). At the same time, music publishers could use the opportunity to make their back catalogues work that much harder for them.

Adding value
Publishers like Penguin and Faber & Faber that have been around forever and have published a lot of famous books by famous authors must have a considerable amount of archive material sitting around in storage – publicity materials, interview recordings, correspondence and so on – that would be of interest to fans.

Apps are a useful and potentially exciting way for readers to have access to some of this material. Penguin has demonstrated with the On The Road app (it features recordings of Jack Kerouac reading extracts, original book reviews, notes from the publisher, Viking). Amazing information that fans of the book will love that was previously only available to academics. Faber & Faber did the same by including readings by T.S. Eliot and Ted Hughes, among others, on The Waste Land app.

As a knock on, it can be this extra material that can turn a reader from someone who quite liked a book into someone who really wants to read an author’s backlist.

[Source: Jennifer Whitehead –]

If you’d like to speak to someone regarding book apps or would like to find out more about Digital Edition then call us now on +44 333 123 3333.