5 Publishing Apps to Watch

In the past, many publishers feared the industry’s inevitable digitalization, and mobile apps were often stigmatized as insignificant or even detrimental to the future and integrity of the publishing industry. But on the contrary, apps can open up brand new perspectives on the industry for publishers, authors, and readers. Could apps perhaps be the future of publishing? According to Alex Knapp, a Forbes contributor, “Publishers are turning to the app as a possible product for books moving forward.” By expanding the publishing industry in previously unimagined ways, apps can be a huge asset for the publishing industry. Read on for a sample of five apps to watch in the coming years. They might just be the key for publishing’s continued relevance in media’s constantly changing landscape.

– iBooks Author: This is an amazing app for authors of all kinds who are interested in publishing iBooks Textbooks (or any other kind of book for that matter). According to Apple, the free iBooks Author uses “galleries, video, interactive diagrams, 3D objects, mathematical expressions, and more” to “bring content to life in ways the printed page never could.”

iBooks Author (courtesy of apple.com)

iBooks Author (courtesy of apple.com)

– Booktrack: If you’re looking for a way to bring content to life even further, try out Booktrack, an app that provides a soundtrack to the book you’re reading. Knapp reported about this app, explaining, “As [Sherlock] Holmes sits by the fire, you hear the fire. When he and Watson are in a cab, you hear the clip-clop of the hooves. Even particularly cool is that it’s well-timed. There was a point where the story describes a woman screaming, and I heard the scream as I was reading the words. It made for a really immersive experience.”

– Goodreads: This one’s an oldie but a goodie. According to App Advice, Goodreads is essentially the premiere social media site for books, and allows readers to rate and review books, share barcodes, and confer with readers across the globe. If a book gets great reviews on Goodreads, a big boost in sales can be expected . 

– Chopsticks: Perhaps most groundbreaking, Chopsticks is an interactive storytelling experience that tells the story of a young couple in love by immersing you in the couple’s life through fictional photo albums, ticket stubs and handwritten notes. Know Your Apps, reported, “Chopsticks then is a revolution in eBook presentation, placing the job of character development in the hands of the user, but at the same time taking you deeper into the intimate details of characters’ lives than seems possible, yet it is done with great lightness of touch.”

A sample screenshot from Chopsticks (courtesy of knowyourapps.com)

A sample screenshot from Chopsticks (courtesy of knowyourapps.com)

– Mindnode: This app is perfect for any aspiring writer. By allowing you to map out your thoughts and story ideas, Mindnode enables writers, both famous and undiscovered, to plan the groundwork of their next book. Erin Enders of Bustle elaborates, “The map starts out with your central thought (or plot premise) and then branches out from there, with different characters, plot points, or settings having different branches.”

Social Media: Friend or Foe?

Just a two weeks ago, Slate reported that Facebook has a new plan to “take over the news”: hosting news sites’ content natively, on its own platform. This way, users are no longer directed to clunky, third party sites. Critics condemn the media and publishing companies  that go along with this plan, warning that journalistic integrity and quality may be compromised down the road if Facebook is suddenly the main host of well known news sources’ content.

Benefits or consequences of Facebook-native news aside, one thing is certain- social media and publishing are becoming one. Many say this could discredit or destroy the publishing industry. But publishers can benefit from social media as much as social media can benefit from publishers. Read on for five ways publishers can take advantage of social media to promote their books, magazines, and brands.

1) Modern Day Book Clubs: According to ReadWrite, PenguinUSA has used Twitter to take the age-old concept of a book club into the 21st century. Gone are the days of a monthly get-together to discuss a book. Now, Penguin encourages readers to tweet about a book using a specific hashtag, while engaging in virtual conversation about the book with other readers and even the author of the book itself.


I’m not talking about your average book club… (barnesandnoble.com)


2) Get A Voice: Digiday recently reported that Lucky editor in chief Eva Chen strongly advises her editorial team to use social media to create and promote their own voice, whether through Facebook status updates, Instagram posts, or tweets. She says, ““We can reach millions and millions of people through social media. It’s a hook to your website; it’s a hook to your brand.”

3) Don’t Neglect the Visual: Publishers can often (understandably) get lost in their words and forget that images are often very important for marketing books or magazines. That’s why social media sites like Pinterest, perhaps surprisingly, can be helpful when promoting products. Digital Book World sums this up, saying, “One thing Pinterest has taught us is how important visual content is.”

Pinterest: A Publisher's Best Friend?

Pinterest: A Publisher’s Best Friend?

4) Book Trailers: Speaking of the visual, social media can be a great place to share book trailers. In the same way that movie trailers generate massive amounts of interest in films, book trailers can create buzz and excitement about upcoming book releases. And there’s no better place to share a video than on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. (http://smallbusiness.chron.com)

5) Book-Focused Social Media: It’s hard to claim that social media is entirely bad for the publishing industry when there are several social media site dedicated exclusively to books. Goodreads is a popular site where readers can share information about books they’re reading, and explore their favorite authors in specialized author pages. (http://smallbusiness.chron.com) With resources such as Goodreads, it’s clear that the ways of promoting publishing through social media are constantly changing but limitless- all you need is some creativity.