Thursday, July 7, 2011

App Alert: My Favorite Bookish Apps

Recently I broke down and got an iPhone, and I have to say, I love it. But being who I am, I had to find out what applications were available for the bookish. It turns out there are lots; every e-reader seems to have an app, as do many websites and books. But there are a few that I turn to over and over and I wanted to share those with you, in case you're wondering how to load up your own smart phone with gadgets to enhance your book life.

And, as of this writing, all of these apps are free through the iTunes store!

Overdrive Media Console is a must-have for the audiophile. Overdrive allows you to download and listen to free audiobooks from your local public library, and it's so simple to use- you just find your library, sign in and start browsing their audio collections. When you find something, add it to your cart and check it out. Just like that, you have a new audiobook.

Out and about looking for a bookstore, LibraryThing's Local Books app is indispensable. You can search locations near and far for libraries, bookstores and other venues, check out events and link directly to their websites. The app also hooks into LibraryThing to make use of its LibraryThing Local tools.

If you like poetry, there are two must-have apps. Poetry Daily is an app version of the website that posts a new poem every day, and the app allows users to read the daily poem, save favorites and link to sponsors. Poetry, created by the Poetry Foundation, allows users to search its database of poems by theme. You can mix and match moods and subjects- combining categories Doubt and Work & Play returns 35 poems, for example; change the mood to Insecurity and the app returns 103 poems. I could spend hours on this app!

The home-cataloguing and social-reading site GoodReads has a great mobile version built into their app, allowing you to use your smart phone's camera to scan books directly into your library wherever you are. You can also check your library and add new books at the touch of a button.

Finally, for the literary fiction loving smart phone user, the Man Booker Prize app is a must-have. Not only can you see lists of all winners and long- and short-listed books, but there are tons of bonus features like audio samples, interviews with authors and video content. It's a one-stop shop for Booker Prize information. The app also links to bookstores based on your location.

Which bookish apps do you use? Which are your favorites? Do you find they enhance your reading experiences, or, is all you need to enjoy reading a book?

Check back here from time to time for more App Alert posts- whenever I come across a new bookish app I'm infatuated with, I'll be sure to tell you about it!