So what sort of value proposition we're talking about? Well, when it comes to authors, Stephen Elliott, author of "The Adderall Diaries", who produced an app for his book, explains in the article what he's looking for:
“As an author, I want you to have the best experience,” he said. “People want to talk about the books they are reading with other people. Why, with everything we know, wouldn’t you include a chat room with your e-book?”
Once readers buy the app, he says, they are beginning a relationship with him and other readers; they can leave comments and read responses and updates from the author. They may even be told down the line that he has a new book for sale and then be able to buy it through the app.And what's the potential in literary apps for publishers? Dennis Johnson of Melville House Publishing, who is working with Electric Literature to introduce an app book before Thanksgiving, share his vision in the article:
The attraction is obvious, he said.“If you publish work that is hard to sell in the American market, say literary fiction in translation, this is another format to hardcover, paperback and e-book,” he said. “A fourth line of revenue.”
In an interview, he imagined the possibilities, such as having readers whose devotion is deeper than merely dipping into a title, who would install a piece of software onto a phone or tablet. “I love the idea of putting books on subscription,” he said, “of having a membership in your publishing house, of having a readership invested in your books.”
So far so good and the excitement is obvious, but will such apps can and will follow these kind of expectations? I doubt.
And here's why: First, there's actually nothing new about these propositions. They're out there on other platforms. In the case of authors, many of them already build relationship with their readers on twitter and facebook for example without any extra charge. When we're talking about publishers, you've got many creative ways available today of crowdsourcing, where readers can participate in writing, decision making on which books will be published and even invest in new books. Most if not all of these options do not require a payment in advance like a literary app does.
Second, and this is especially relevant to authors, there's the cost issue. You can buy the ebook of Elliott for $9.99 or pay $14.99 for the app, which includes the e-book and "a dedicated discussion board to talk with other readers...Also features extras like Stephen Elliott's book tour diary, an RSS feed for news and events, a video interview with the author, and more."
I guess the attractiveness of such offer mainly depends on the attractiveness of the book or the popularity of the author, and I'm not sure if popular authors or best selling books need such platform in the first place.
It's true that authors are still looking for ways to generate extra income out of their books, but I'm not sure if these kind of apps will prove themselves to be one of the best ways to do it. I guess the attractiveness of such offer mainly depends on the attractiveness of the book or the popularity of the author, and I'm not sure if popular authors or best selling books need such platform in the first place.
The literary app is described in the article as a growing trend, but I've got a feeling it has a limited potential and we'll still have to wait for a real killer app to pop up.What do you think? I'll be happy to hear your thoughts about it.
Raz @ Eco-Libris
Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!