HarperCollins BookSmash Challenge Aims To "Re-Imagine" The Book

BookSmash Challenge

Earlier this summer, Big Six publisher HarperCollins unveiled a new strategy for rethinking the eBook (and, really, the book as we know it). It's called the BookSmash Challenge, a contest for app developers to "use imagination and technology to build software that goes beyond the traditional ways we read and discover books." Here's more from HC:

HarperCollins is issuing a call to developers to create excellent, functioning software and proof of concept apps utilizing the HarperCollins OpenBook API (application programming interface), and in doing so turn opportunities into reality.

HarperCollins invites one and all to develop new ways of reading and discovering books and authors. This is a chance for developers to experiment and play with the HarperCollins OpenBookAPI, which features exclusive book data, author data, and content not available to the general public. These tools will allow developers to think about how to make readers fall in love with books all over again, and how to lead a reluctant reader to just the right story.

The deadline to enter was September 5th. Now that the apps are in, HC asks visitors to the BookSmash website to vote on their favorites. The top winner will receive $15,000 to further develop their application. The Runner-Up receives $8,000 and the Popular Choice gets $2,000. There's also a HarperCollins Recognition Award, aka, an honorable mention. No cash prize there. Winners will be announced sometime around October 10th.

Take a look at the Applications Gallery to see all the entries (and vote on one too, if you're so inclined). One of my favorites is BookCities, a web app that recommends novels based on your travel destination. Here's the developer's description:

Fiction is a great way to learn about local places and culture, and local street-wisdom helps you enjoy books set there. BookCities is a web app that helps you find great books to gear you up for a new city or help you feel out new destinations for travel.

For example, what better to read in Paris than A Moveable Feast? Your perspective on Dublin would be so much better after reading Dubliners. You can seek out some Richard Brautigan for your flight to San Francisco, and ride Tokyo's Metro with a Haruki Murakami novel.

What sort of apps or features would you like to see in the future? 

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