Apps With Sass
While the book and app were conceived as stand-alone projects, the timing of their releases created a clever way to drive readers to the book, and vice versa. The app was deliberately released first, on Sept. 21, followed by the book on Nov. 1, meaning all those young adults who started reading the story on their phones or tablets could go out and buy the whole story in print if they were too engrossed to wait until Christmas to find out how it ends. Conversely, readers of the print edition can check out videos of the characters, listen to audio diary readings and explore a map of the story to unlock keys and clues.
"With Dark Eden, I really wanted to find a way to put the reader into a story. That is the part that is most exciting to me," Carman says. "I see it as re-imagining old ideas for a new audience. The app develops stories in the same way they did back in the day when they used to do serialized novels [in magazines]."
While the app does not include built-in social features, it does offer numerous links to the "Dark Eden" Facebook page, taking readers directly to the community of people reading the story.
The app was developed by Carman internally through his own in-house design studio. "We had a little bit of outside help, but for the most part we built everything in the app and all the technology ourselves," he said, with Harper Collins giving the project "a long leash." Available on Apple's iOS and Android, with a custom version developed specifically for the iPad featuring HD videos and graphics, full screen text and a different layout for the chapters. The app is also available through the Nook store.
Takeaway Tip: Apps can get readers who might not have picked up the printed book hooked on the story, and enhance the experience for all.