Have you thought outside the box?

We’re all embroiled in a discussion of e-books vs. printed books, a debate which has many sides and approaches.  That is not the topic of today’s post.   Instead, I’d like to discuss the topic of iPhone applications with a literary twist.  In this case, it’s not the real book we’re discussing.  We’ll be thinking about the benefits of interactive applications for the publishing world.  As well as the world of reading.

Recently one of my friends told me she was leading the development of  an iPhone application that will benefit her library users.  At some point in the near future, her patrons will be able to walk into the library, be able to browse the library catalog via iPhone, choose the items for check out, and actually be able to check out these items via the same application.   Imagine my excitement, as I know this will bring even more people into the library, as the ease of use and this level of interactive technology is dead-on with today’s general public. 

Other applications that I’ve heard about include:

1. Local Books – Do you need to find a bookstore or library nearby?  Then this is the application to use.

2. McSweeney’s – There’s the print and web presence of this fantastic magazine, but now you can connect to McSweeney’s via iPhone.  Super cool!

3. Tasty Bytes – Rachel Ray’s iPhone shopping app. You have her cookbooks, the next step is to bring her to the grocery store.  A great idea no less!

4. Random House Author iPhone Apps – You’ve read the book, now get the skinny on author book tours, interviews and more.  They announced this initiative in late 2009.

5. Agent Obvious – The perfect iPhone application for writers, editors and literary agents.  Lots of good advice and interactive content, and created by Laurie Abkemeier of DeFiore and Company.

The reason I feel the need to mention these examples is to appreciate the need of thinking “outside-the-box.”  Do you want to expand your writing platform?  Do you have a new book that’s about to get published?  Are you an aspiring writer?   Do you find yourself needing to locate a nearby bookstore & not near a computer to do so?  Do you want to leave the book at home, but still need access to its informative content?  Then using and/or creating these types of applications is the way to go.  

This type of advanced technology should be used by writers to advance their writing platform.  We’ve already discussed social media, websites, blogs, print media, book signings, and more.  The next step would obviously point to creating interactive programs for readers – especially due to the many people who seem to own iPhones (and other types of smartphones). 

It’s definitely worth thinking about, as I truly believe the smartphones are around for the long-haul.