Traditional print books and ebooks are getting technological facelifts that aim to make readers’ experiences more immersive, and publishers are only just starting to discover the possibilities.
Considering the constant advancements in technology, coding print books for e-readers is far from the end of the evolution timeline for interactive books. Established publishers are currently exploring how to use phone apps to interact with readers, such as what’s being done by Melville House‘s HybridBooks Project and Sourcebooks’ DragonHunters trilogy. These examples typically use apps as quick ways to search text in a book or to give pictures 3-D effects.
Modern Polaxis and Head and Neck Anatomy, which are both successful Kickstarters, use their apps as crucial storytelling and learning components respectively. While HybridBooks Projects and DragonHunters don’t require apps to fully appreciate or understand the material in the book, Modern Polaxis and Head and Neck Anatomy include so much information across these platforms that having just a copy of the book is having only half of the full experience.
There are even projects that take the blend of books and technology beyond including apps and ebooks. Sensory Fiction is one company that aims to accomplish this by using a vest and a digital e-reader to generate physical reactions (like temperature and vibrations) to complement what’s being read.
The amount of progress being made in the world of book publishing to create new and memorable reading experiences using technology feels like it’s only just beginning. There’s going to be room for exploration and growth in this area that will impact the future of publishing, whether it’s discovering new ways to incorporate technology or helping to carry-out ideas that become the norm in publishing. These changes happen so fast, it’s important to be aware of now and consider as we move forward with our publishing careers.
To commemorate specific, timely aspects of the library industry, the theme of this year’s week is “Libraries Transform.” “Libraries Transform” is meant to draw attention to how libraries have grown throughout American history, and how they still strive to be an essential resource and hub of knowledge for the community.
Another way to show support during National Poetry Month is to check-out some poetry journals. Poetry journals are a great way to explore trending themes in poems and to analyze a wide variety of work from different poets, especially for someone who doesn’t know a lot about poetry. For anyone looking for longer collections, some recent must-read titles to start with are Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong, Bestiary by Donika Kelly, Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet, and The Chaos of Longingby K.Y. Robinson.
Bookwitty is an online service designed to simplify readers’ discovery of books, and other book-relevant information, by providing recommendations based on context rather than popularity.
One of many online-based resources to match new specific types of books and authors to its users, Bookwitty is a growing platform that posts books and pertinent publishing articles. A multicultural catalogue of upwards to 26 million books, Bookwitty not only matches readers with books but also sells them at discounted prices. Bookwitty also encourages social media practices by offering playlists of books, information and novel discovery pages, and other services to help and appeal to book lovers and publishers.
Hootsuite helps interns and/or employees who handle social media platforms stay organized and informed while managing posts across multiple channels.
Social media is crucial in publishing, and being on top of what is getting posted where and keeping track of analytics for multiple sites can be tricky to balance. Known as being one of the most reliable social media dashboards, Hootsuite is a social media manager that hosts noteworthy social media sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Tumblr, YouTube and Google+) in one place to allow users to easily cycle through them without clicking between tabs, schedule and post messages to one or all platforms, track mentions of your business and related tags, and analyze traffic on all attached channels. Hootsuite is meant to make utilizing social media sites simpler while also showing areas of potential growth and weakness to get the most out of each platform.
By using Hootsuite and other social media tools, interns and employees can get a stronger handle on how to optimize their communication with followers and better operate these aspects of the business.
Publishers are continuously working to find new ways to interact with readers and give recommendations online as effectively as Amazon has managed to. As the first publishers to utilize Facebook and the Facebook Messenger feature, HarperCollins has added two new bots that Facebook users can access: BookGenie and Epic Reads. BookGenie is available on HarperCollins main Facebook page and the YA-focused Epic Reads is available on their Facebook page.
It all begins with you engaging either BookGenie or Epic Reads in a Facebook Messenger conversation. From there, the bots ask questions to determine what books you may be into, starting with a book you’ve recently read and how you enjoyed it. After you stumble upon a title that looks interesting to you, the bot provides a link directly to the HarperCollins website to encourage people to buy from them.
It’s interactive, definitely, and a fun way to get to know new titles directly from the publisher. While it’s not nearly as pervasive as what Amazon does with their recommendation bars on search pages—especially since they restrict their recommendations to books published only by HarperCollins—it’s a new way to get people to feel more connected to the HarperCollins brand and have fun while doing it.
The literary and publishing achievements of women are also being recognized outside of government-funded establishments. Big publishers like Penguin Random House are featuring a reading challenge of books written exclusively by women. The New York Public Library is also dedicating this month to sharing everything from digital collections of published works by and about women to posts about notable leading ladies in books. These sources are all good to look into for getting into celebrating a month of the importance and strength of women.
The Wix Lounge in New York City is a membership-based program that offers space to hosts events, exhibits, and collaborations, as well as workshops, online website assistance, and other support for professionals in young, growing businesses.
The Wix Lounge caters to individuals and groups who need space to work or guidance to incorporate technology into their marketing plans. While useful for smaller visions, Wix has about 90 million users worldwide and operating out of 190 countries, allowing them a firsthand understanding of global outreach to better assist larger projects. Though they do emphasize providing in-person workspace access in Manhattan, Wix also gives members access to website building that doesn’t rely on a knowledge of coding and help with how to lay it out. This is a great company for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and free-lancers to consider signing up for because of the amount of services and aid that Wix gives to members.
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, filled with an impressive archive of magazines, books, and documents from the lives of prominent Americans dating back to its founding in 1800. Though it’s open to the public, nothing in the library may be taken out. To make library materials more accessible to the public, Hayden has doubled-down on continuing work with The Internet Archive in their ongoing efforts to digitize the contents of their library (so far they’re a little over 16 years into the process). Some of their most famous collections to be scanned online so far range from the Rosa Park Papers to the Abraham Lincoln Papers.
She also has made it a point to have more of a social media presence to include more people in what goes on at the national library, something new for a Librarian of Congress.