Major publisher forays into enhanced e-book apps

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The Independent Culture

A growing number of publishers and major authors have been creating enhanced e-book applications that take advantage of all the features the latest generation of smartphones and tablets have to offer. Now, announced Publishers Weekly on August 3, major publisher HarperCollins US is throwing its hat in the ring with a series of eight titles that indicate where enhanced apps might be heading.

March saw the beginning of the enhanced app trend, as several publishers anticipated the release of the feature-rich iPad a month later. Among that wave of apps was an "enriched e-book version" of thriller writer David Baldacci's Deliver Us From Evil complete with an audio Q&A, video, photos, and discarded scenes from Hachette Book Group and, from Penguin, an application for the young adult series Vampire Academy that includes live chat and GPS features.

HarperCollins is now making its foray into enhanced apps with three apps that are already available for purchase. They include Getting the Pretty Back by actress Molly Ringwald, the app of which includes eight author videos and 15 clips of Ringwald reading from the book; and Stephen Prothero's God is Not One, which includes an exclusive essay, a quiz, course guide, and author video.

Both of those apps were developed with Enhanced Editions, whose other projects have included enhanced apps for David Nicholls's One Day, Stephen King's Under the Dome, Candace Bushnell's The Carrie Diaries, Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, and Philip Pullman's The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.

The third HarperCollins app, created for Louder than Words by business author Joe Navarro, is the one HarperCollins cites as its ideal. That enhanced title features 22 in-line videos that illustrate how to read, and use, nonverbal signals in business. " Louder is indicative of the type of detail we aspire to," Ana Maria Allessi, v-p, publisher, HarperMedia, told Publishers Weekly.

The Louder app was created by Vook, which has previously developed its "video books" for Anne Rice's The Master of Rampling Gate, the Guns N' Roses biography Reckless Road, and Seth Godin's Unleashing the Superidea Virus.

HarperCollins' enhanced apps, now for sale from iTunes and their respective developers, are all priced at $14.99 (or £7.99 in the UK) for the Ringwald and Prothero titles and $16.99 for Louder than Words.