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Why BitLit Could Revolutionize The E-Book Market

Posted by Jennifer Allen on August 13th, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Avid book readers will appreciate the dilemma. You want to buy a new book but do you want a physical copy or an e-book that you can more easily take with you while you're out and about? Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, making it a tough call.

There's a newly launched service that aims to solve this problem, though. It's called BitLit, and it hopes to revolutionize things when it comes to your ability to read whenever, however. Currently, over 120 publishers have signed up to the service with nearly 20,000 books available through it. A pilot deal has just been signed with HarperCollins, while other publishers such as O'Reilly and Angry Robot are also on board.

The way it works is that you simply take a photo of your book cover, write your name on the book's copyright page, take a snapshot of that, then send it through for your ownership to be validated. Then an eBook comes through in return; one that can be used on all of your devices - such as an iPad, Kindle, Kobo, or Nook.

We took the time to ask the firm a few questions to learn more about the service.

148Apps: How does the funding model for BitLit work? How do publishers gain from this approach?
BitLit: When a publisher offers the eBook for free, then it's free (as in beer) for everybody, we take no commission and the user gets a free eBook (who doesn't like free stuff). About 30% of the eBooks in BitLit are free. If the eBook isn't free, then BitLit takes a small commission from the sale -- that's how we keep the lights on and servers running.

The upside for publishers and authors is twofold: Firstly, print books that include a free/discounted eBook sell almost twice as well in bookstores than books that don't include a bundled eBook. Secondly, for books that people already own, there is the opportunity for an incremental upsale -- less than 1% of readers purchase titles at full price in both print and digital formats, 48% of readers say they're willing to pay slightly more to get both formats. Currently you can only buy print or digital; BitLit lets the author capture value on the reader who wants both.

148apps: Are there any plans for it to be possible to validate your purchase without writing in the book?
BitLit: We ask our users to validate the book by writing in it is so that the book can't be returned to a bookstore. But we know that readers sometimes don't want to have their messy writing in their book. For these folks, there's the option of using an Ex Libris book stamp to mark that the book is theirs.


148apps: How long does the process take before you can download a copy?
BitLit: If you have neat handwriting the process takes about 30 seconds. If the automated algorithms can't recognize your hand writing, then it might take up to 15 minutes for a human reviewer to validate your print edition. We deliver eBooks via email download link, so even if you use BitLit on your smartphone to validate the book, you can be reading on your iPad in less than a minute.

148apps: What plans are there for expansion to cover more titles?
BitLit: We have a dedicated content acquisition team whose job is to get in touch with publishers. We already have some great publishers like HarperCollins, O'Reilly, and Angry Robot on board... and we're in talks with a lot of other great publishers that we hope will be joining soon. Stay tuned.


Thanks to the folks at BitLit for answering our questions. The app is available now and is a free download. To check what books are eligible, you can consult the BitLit website.

SHERLOCK: Interactive Adventure Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 7th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FRESH TAKE
A classic murder mystery with plenty of interactive content; what more could one want from a story?
Read The Full Review »

Walking With Dinosaurs: Inside Their World Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on June 21st, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: INSIGHTFUL
Step into the world of dinosaurs and the people who found out more about them, in this fascinating interactive e-book.
Read The Full Review »

Book Creation For Friends And Family With Book Writer

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 6th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

It's been said that everyone has a good novel inside them. It's just a matter of finding the time to write it all down! Book Writer might not be able to add extra hours to the day, but it can make creating a book that's possible to read through iBooks or send to friends, much easier.

The app makes it simple to produce all kinds of books from photo books to cookbooks, manuals or even children's stories, all through the wealth of options within. It's simple to add photos or videos to a book, as well as resizes such images and move them around easily. It's the kind of thing that would be great for collating memories from a special event.

Once created, it's just as simple to share the book via iTunes, email or by printing the document, making it a great way to share creations with friends and family.

Book Writer is out now, priced at $3.99, and it's an Universal app.

Kick-Off Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad only
By Jennifer Allen on May 15th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: INTERESTING
An enjoyable history of soccer but with limited interactivity.
Read The Full Review »

Collin's Journey: Teaching Kids About Serious Illness

Posted by Jennifer Allen on May 11th, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad only

We've all seen plenty of cute interactive books on the App Store. However, Collin's Journey Through Cancer is an especially touching one to see.

As the name suggests, it's all about a young boy called Collin who is currently battling that evil disease, cancer. Fortunately, he has great and supportive parents looking out for him.

The story is all done from the child's perspective with childlike drawings illustrating the way and a child's voice narrating the action.

It won't be the longest read, even for young readers, but it's a touching tale. Crucially, it has the potential to be an ideal app to use with the family for those unfortunate enough to be hit with this cruel disease. Books like these are a great way to provoke discussion with younger members of the family.

Collin's Journey Through Cancer is free to download so why not give it a read today? It's out now for the iPad only.

Moby Dick Goes on a Digital Odyssey

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on February 21st, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad only

Moby Dick is one of those great pieces of literature which everyone claims to have read, but very few people actually get all the way through. It's no surprise either, considering that the book is long, dense and at times so boring you'd rather stab yourself repeatedly with a harpoon than turn the page. Arcade Sunshine Media thinks they may have a solution to the issue with the newly released Moby Dick - A Digital Odyssey.

In addition to access to the complete Melville e-book, users can also access infographics, videos with literary experts, an interactive glossary, and more. A couple other cool features include a timeline of the life of Herman Melville and explanations on how different events of his life shaped the book, as well as a map of the journey of the Peaquod. those interested in historical context can also learn more about the whaling industry without ever having to leave the app.

There's a hefty amount of content offered for a relatively cheap app, and it's a great way to bring a literary classic into the modern era. Sure, you probably still won't read the book, but at least you can sound smart at parties when facing off against inferior intellectuals who only read the Cliff's Notes.

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