Tag: Apps

8 Best Things to Happen to the Book World This Decade

This decade has been truly revolutionary for the book world. From opening up literature to the masses via the internet, to delving deeper into your favorite books with podcasts and apps, reading and writing has never been easier. Here are the best things to happen to the book world in the last ten years.

1. Bookstagram

 

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A pie-fect look back at 2019… Here’s to a new TBR pile for 2020! ?#RBCregram @pieladybooks

A post shared by Reese’s Book Club (@reesesbookclub) on

With the rise of Instagram has come bookstagram: social media users who photograph and talk about books and authors online. From beautifully aesthetic, creative blogs like @lifebyesther and the @chroniclebooks feed, to genre-specific accounts like the fantasy-focussed @thisgirlhasn0name. Celebrity bookclubs like Reese Witherspoon’s @reesesbookclub continue to post beautiful and inspiring content daily! Which brings me to my next point…

 

2. Celebrity Book Clubs

reese witherspoon .jpg
Image Via E!News

The internet has connected people like never before, and now with just a click of a button or a few taps of a keyboard, you can get in touch with other readers all around the world. This has meant that celebrities with a passion for reading are able to share this passion with their followers, and bookclubs headed by famous personalities have been springing up left, right and center. Perhaps the OG celeb bookclub is Oprah’s Book Club, a career maker for any author chosen. Emma Roberts’ Belletrist, Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf, and Reese Witherspoon’s Reese’s Book Club are all making waves too, with Witherspoon choosing to adapt, produce and sometimes star in adaptations of many of the books she selects for her followers. Don’t miss her alongside Kerry Washington in the Hulu miniseries of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, coming to your screens in March 2020.

 

3. Podcasts

Image via Irish Examiner

Podcasts are definitely one of my personal highlights from the last ten years. I just can’t get enough! And as a lover of a good yarn, there have been several that have really stood out for me. True crime podcast Serial, written and hosted by journalist Sarah Koenig would top any podcast enthusiasts Best of the Decade list. An intricately woven and brilliantly wrought tale of a botched murder inquiry, an unfair trial and a fight for justice, Serial documents the real-life case of the murder of Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed’s conviction. Fictional podcast series have also been huge successes, with series such as Welcome to Nightvale and Limetown topping the charts. If you’ve just finished a book and are dying to get into some deeper discussions, all you need to do is search on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, and you’ll find countless episodes of podcasts reviewing and chatting about it!

 

4. Facebook Live

Image Via Twitter

We love a good Facebook Live interview here at Bookstr, and here’s why. Facebook Live is a unique way for authors to connect with their fans and gain new ones, while interacting with them in real time. Fans can type questions in the comments and the host will ask the author whatever it is you want to know! We’ve had some brilliant Facebook Lives on Bookstr over the last few years, including Jeanette Wall, Daniel Handler, Meg Wolitzer, Lee Child, Peter James, and LIGHTS. Be sure to check them out!

 

5. Book con

John Green, Kristine Froseth, at BookCon 2019 presents Hulu's John Green's Looking for Alaska at the Javits Center in New York City
John Green, Kristine Froseth, at BookCon 2019 presents Hulu’s John Green’s Looking for Alaska at the Javits Center in New York City | Image Via Just Jared

So comic book fans have been going to Comic Con since it started in in 1970, but Book Con kicked off in 2014, giving readers of all genres a chance to cosplay their favorite characters, connect with other passionate readers, and meet their beloved authors. Since then, Book Con has been held annually at the Javits Center in New York, and has seen the likes of John and Hank Green, Jodi Picoult, Mindi Kaling, Julianne Moore, Khloe Kardashian, Bill Nye, Meg Cabot, Margaret Atwood, Krysten Ritter, Angie Thomas, Holly Black and more!

 

6. Apps 

 

Image Via Pinterest

Apps have made many things in our lives a whole lot easier, from tracking our steps, to listening to music, to getting the bus, paying for dinner, chatting with friends, and searching information. Apps have been especially beneficial to the reading and writing community, with apps like WattPad allowing authors to write for the masses while on the move, Kindle allowing us to read without having to lug around heavy tomes, and apps The Brainstormer, Mindnode, and StoryTracker making it easier than ever to keep track of your next big ideas!

 

7. Fandoms

Image Via the Sassologis

Books have always had large followings. Fans used to go wild for the next installment of Charles Dickens’ serialized stories in the newspaper! But the rise of the internet has allowed these followings to grow and gain momentum and become… fandoms. Urban Dictionary defines a fandom as ‘A group of people who willingly have their souls devoured by an obsession.’ A little extreme, perhaps!

From Tumblr blogs to video blogs, fanfiction to Facebook groups, fandoms have run rampant in the last decade, and have provided safety, community and a sense of home for diehard fans the world over.

 

8. Book merch

Carry the beautiful sight of fully stocked bookshelves everywhere with this Bookshelf Charm Bookmark

Online shopping has pretty much taken over the entire world (thanks Amazon…) but with that, has provided a space for creative book fans to make and sell book related merch. From beautiful bookmarks like Book Art Bookmarks, to Etsy sellers creating beautiful fan art, jewelry and collectibles, to companies like Dynamite Books and Out of Print clothing, readers are spoiled for choice, and never have trouble filling out their Santa lists! 

 


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Sleeping bookworms

This Writer Makes Serious Money Putting Readers to Sleep

As a writer, the most important thing is to hold the reader’s attention… unless you’re paid not to.

 

In an era of deeper intersecting of technology and consumerism, even sleep has become a business. Sleep app Calm aspires to be the best in that business, offering audio libraries of music playlists, guided meditations, and relaxation classes. (Sounds fake, say the students, who do not find class at all relaxing.) But its most popular feature is its Sleep Stories: twenty to forty minute audio stories read aloud by comforting voices, including that of Stephen Fry. Calm asks: “we loved having bedtime stories read to us as children, so why should that stop now that we’re all grown up?”

 

Calm's 'Sleep Stories' promotional banner

Image Via Calm

 

When travel writer Phoebe Smith got a call from Calm founder Michael Acton Smith, she wasn’t sure whether or not to feel insulted. She reacted: “should I be really offended that he thinks my writing has the effect of boring people to sleep?” As a travel writer, there’s a particular incentive to be exciting—yours is the story to take people around the world on their vicarious vacations (a vacation on which there need not be overbooked hotels or unpleasant airplane passengers). P. Smith thinks that travel writing and ‘sleep writing’ aren’t necessarily opposites, citing her primary goalas “encouraging [listeners’] imaginations to play.” Her most popular story, “Blue Gold,” offers a “soothing tour of the lavender fields and sleepy villages of Provence.” It has around 15 million listens.

 

Lavender fields of Provence

Image Via Traveler Comments

 

No one is sleeping on Calm—the app recently hit a staggering value of $230 billion. Calm launched some of its profits into the world’s first “sleep story tour,” which may be one of the only events at which it’s ruder not to fall asleep.

 

Preview for "Blue Gold," narrated by Stephen Fry

Image Via Byrdie

 

Is there anything about sleep writing that isn’t a dream? Smith admits there is one problem: “people say to me, ‘I really love the stories, but I never get to the end!'”

 

 

Featured Image Via Healthline.com

nanowrimo

The Best Apps for Every Step of NaNoWriMo

So it’s the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, and you only have time to do things like go to school for eight hours, sleep for an inconvenient five or so, and occasionally eat. Writing does take time, but you have more time than you probably think (unless you thought you had twenty-four hours in a day, which is technically accurate but unlikely for a functioning person). While there are some circumstances where you can’t whip out your laptop, there are far fewer cases where it’s unusual to take out your phone. So instead of lamenting your wasted time, use the moments you do have to chip away at that 50k on iPhone or Android… with some (all free!) apps to help you with every step of the process.

 

1. The research process 

 

 

Charlie Kelly from 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'

Image Via Imgur.com

 

Evernote, free for iPhone and Android, is perfect for keeping track of all your research and inspirational quotations. Its Web Clipper feature allows you to incorporate your source material directly into your notes, so you don’t crash your computer (again) with your 22 dubiously-useful open tabs.

 

2. The outline 

 

 

Millie Bobby Brown Gif

Gif Via Tumblr.com

 

Go Writer Lite for iPhone incorporates note-taking into the writing process with the draft board feature, a temporary storage space for text fragments (like that one sentence you just can’t figure out). As a bonus, the app will read your text aloud to you, so you can hear for yourself what sounds the way you imagined it.

 

Workflowy for Android is perfect for complicated outlines, allowing users to see any heading and its subheadings in isolation to prevent distraction (to the extent that it can). The app also includes searchable hashtags, so you can mark problem areas you want to remember for later—and then actually remember them.

 

3. The first draft

 

 

'Tom and Jerry' Gif

Gif Via Github.com

 

Writer for iPhone is more powerful than your typical word processor, saving all drafts of your product so that you never lose any material. In addition to your usual built-in spell check, this app also comes with a built in thesaurus to help you find the right (write?) word. On top of that, the app has simple yet varied table of contents formatting to help you and (and your eventual readers!) stay organized.

 

4. The editing process 

 

 

Frantic Typing Gif

Gif Via Gfycat.com

 

Unlike your typical sticky note phone app, Jotterpad for Android keeps track of your word count, paragraph count, character count, AND reading time. With a built in dictionary and thesaurus, this app is already better than many word processing computer programs. Jotterpad is especially good for your second and third drafts, as its snapshot feature allows you to revert to earlier versions of your story.

 

With any luck, these apps will help you put your (relatively few) moments of down time to work writing the novel of your dreams (or occasionally your nightmares).

 

Featured Image Via WeScreeplay

Chat Fiction Apps

Chat Stories Are the Future of Fiction, These Are the Apps You Need to Read Them

Chat story apps have been cropping up by the dozens in the last few years.  In case you’ve never used one before, these apps allow users to read stories in the form of a text conversation between characters.  The concept is pretty interesting, and if you have a few minutes to read some fast-paced fiction, then check out one of the apps below.

 

1. Hooked (iOS and Android)

 

 

Hooked

Image Via FrostClick

 

Hooked is the OG chat story app. It offers up stories from several genres including horror, mystery, comedy, sci-fi, and romance. Users can create an account in order to comment and like stories. Paying for a subscription will also give you access to pictures within the stories and allow you to read as much as you want with no time limits, but the stories are still enjoyable even without images and having to wait to continue.  

 

2. Yarn (iOS and Android)

 

Yarn

Image Via the App Store

 

Yarn is very similar to Hooked.  It has many of the same genres, but it also has the ability to view videos in addition to images in its stories.  Like with Hooked, you have to subscribe in order to get these features and bypass a time limit.

 

3. Cliffhanger (iOS and Android)

 

Cliffhanger

Image Via the App Store

 

Cliffhanger takes the concept of chat stories a step further.  Like a modern-day version of the classic Choose Your Own Adventure stories, Cliffhanger lets users choose the action at regular intervals in the narratives. There are stories from a variety of genres, like with the other apps, and the app also has images and videos which can be unlocked with a subscription.  Cliffhanger has a wait time as well, but it is significantly shorter than that of the others and totally worth it for the quality of the content.

 

Feature Image Via Business Insider

We Read Too

New App Allows Readers to Find Writers of Color at the Tap of a Screen!

Software engineer Kaya Thomas designed an absolutely awesome app called We Read Too. It lets readers easily find children’s books by writers of color featuring characters of color. It’s not always easy to find diverse children’s literature, and Thomas noticed this growing up. We Read Too should help future generations read from a wider array of authors.

 

The app is sleek, colorful, and easy to browse. It allows users to filter by picture, chapter, middle grade, and young adult books. With over 600 books included, the simple browsing system allows parents, teachers, tutors, guardians, and basically all adults help children find books by writers of color, featuring, hopefully, characters that look a little more like them.

 

Thomas is an Associate Engineer at Slack Technologies (yes, the site you use to send funny memes to your coworkers), but We Read Too is her passion project. It’s available to everybody for free, and that’s how Thomas wants to keep it. Speaking to Apple, Thomas said, “I wanted We Read Too to be accessible to everyone, regardless of whether they could afford to buy a $1 app. I have no intention of ever charging anyone for access to the information.”

 

We Read Too gives us a reason to be optimistic, as more young readers will now be able to read books by writers of color. Thomas hopes to partner with libraries in the future. If that pans out, then it will help ensure the information she’s gathered is going to the right people. Pick up We Read Too on the App Store and Google Play today!

 

Feature Image Via We Read Too