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New Booke Reading Companion App Works in Tandem with Your Old-School Books

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I covered the digital publishing industry for a couple of years, back when ereaders weren’t yet ubiquitous and few people owned a tablet. I saw lots of ideas come and go as book lovers, as well as those who wanted in on the next big thing, tried to create a newer evolution in reading.

However, many of them failed because they just didn’t get two things: 1) Book lovers still needed to experience reading as they’ve always loved it by feeling a book in their hands. People just expected to have that familiar experience. 2) In order for reading to thrive in the digital world, it needed to become social and, therefore, collaborative. These days, people just expect that, too.

The Booke social reading companion, which was recently launched on Indiegogo, seems to be winning at both of these challenges. The app allows readers, publishers, and content creators to get more out of printed reading materials with digital features that allow them to augment the content in a social environment. But the catch is that the Booke app works in tandem with traditional printed books. So, readers get the old-school book experience with the new-school digital perks.

“We love all the features of using an eReader, but miss the smell, feel, and actions of reading physical, printed books,” said Booke cofounder Grazyna Szczepaniak in a press release. “So we decided to combine the two worlds with the Booke app. By giving today’s readers the ability to search, bookmark, annotate, and share printed content right from their device, Booke is helping to bring print into the 21st century!”

Here are some examples of reading scenarios that could be enhanced by Booke to illustrate what the app actually does:

Book groups could unlock exclusive content from their existing printed books and then share favorite passages with each other and take notes for the next discussion group.

Students could take notes from textbooks by scribbling in the margins. Since Booke lets you do this without ruining the pages, those students could still sell their books back at the end of the semester.

Publishers can leverage the Booke platform to bring more of their offerings online (right now, only 23 percent of books are offered as ebooks). The platform also allows publishers and content creators to analyze reader behavior, showing them which sections of books engaged readers the most so that they can create more tailored content in the future.

The Booke team is seeking to raise $15,000 on Indiegogo to create a richer reading experience for all. The funds will go toward the special edition of Rogues by George R.R. Martin (editor), Gardner Dozois (editor), Gillian Flynn (contributor), Neil Gaiman (contributor), and Patrick Rothfuss (contributor) for the Booke platform.

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About the Author

Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup. She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, "Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership," which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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