HarperCollins Announces Winners of the BookSmash Challenge: $25,000 in Prizes Awarded
Connections, Discovery Tool Connecting Readers with Authors That Share Similar Identities, Experiences, Locations and Topics, Takes Grand Prize
NEW YORK, October 9, 2013–?HarperCollins Publishers today announced the winners of The BookSmash Challenge (http://booksmash.challengepost.com), a contest which challenged developers to use imagination and technology to create new digital products that re-imagine the book.
The Grand Prize winner is Connections, an author and book discovery app in which readers can discover authors that share similar identities, experiences, locations and topics. Connections allows users to explore author identities, specifically those with similar backgrounds and experiences to themselves, and create a personalized reading list based on the app’s suggestions.
“Books discovered through the app will take on more personal meaning as readers get to know the authors behind them,” said the Connections team in their BookSmash Challenge submission.
The app works by reading author bios pulled from the HarperCollins Open API and recognizing patterns of keywords in order to build an experience and identity profile for each author.
Connections was developed by education startup Qlovi, with a team consisting of Stephen Ahn, Harlyn Pacheco and Ricardo Rodriguez. The developers of Connections were awarded a prize of $15,000.
“I was intrigued by the innovative approach to book discovery presented by the Connections app. Relating to a book’s author is yet another inspired way for consumers to find and read books that appeal to them,” said HarperCollins Chief Digital Officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi. “It was exciting and invigorating to see the creativity put forth by all of the entrants into The BookSmash Challenge, as publishing and technology merged.”
The Runner-Up prize of $8,000 was awarded to Readsenses, which recommends books based on the news users read, the articles they share, and the other web content they view online. Readsenses is a browser plugin that allows the user to discover new book recommendations matched to the web content they are currently viewing – with just one click. Readsenses was developed by a team of two, consisting of Ahmed El Kholy and Tarek El-Elaimy.
The winners of The BookSmash Challenge were selected from a total of 20 submissions by a panel of judges, including entrepreneur and author of Curation Nation Steve Rosenbaum, entertainment industry veteran Paul Vidich, co-founder of N3TWORK and former Apple Executive Erik Lammerding, CEO of LiveDeal, Inc. Mike Edelhart, HarperCollins Chief Digital Officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi, Head of Corporate Development for betaworks Sam Mendal, and Senior VP and Publisher for HarperOne Mark Tauber. Judging was based on originality of idea, implementation of idea, and potential impact.
BookSmash Explorer, winner of the Popular Choice prize, connects the world of digital media to that of social media and beyond. The app serves as a reader, while also providing easy access to reviews, information about the author and integration with social networking tools. The Popular Choice winner was determined by votes from the public. BookSmash Explorer was created by Robert Oschler, who received a prize of $2,000.
Although The BookSmash Challenge is over, developers can continue to access all of the titles from the HarperCollins Author Innovators, using the HarperCollins Open Book API (http://developer.harpercollins.com/page). This includes copyrighted books, covers, and complete metadata for authors such as Rob Bell, Ian Douglas, Debra Driza, Peter Drucker, Bruce Feiler, Jeaniene Frost, Michelle Gagnon, Kim Harrison, Eloisa James, Richard Kadrey, Karen Le Billon, C.S. Lewis, Sarah MacLean, Julia Quinn, James Rollins, Tina Seelig, Katie Sise, Kat Von D, and Dan Wells.
“We appreciate the contribution software developers can make on behalf of our authors and are greatly curious about the new ways developers will expand the book,” said Rich Rothstein, Vice President of New Technology for HarperCollins. “The Open Book API and Author Innovator list are terrific resources for tapping into the creativity and innovation of the best developers in the world.”
Developers can still register for an API key and submit application concepts to HarperCollins. The Author Innovator list will be updated regularly, and will help to streamline the licensing process for developers interested in intellectual property published by HarperCollins.
To view all entries in The BookSmash Challenge, please visit http://booksmash.challengepost.com/.
ABOUT HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS
HarperCollins Publishers, one of the largest English-language publishers in the world, is a subsidiary of News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NNC, NNCLV). Headquartered in New York, HarperCollins has publishing groups around the world in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India. HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children’s books, cookbooks, narrative nonfiction, mystery, romance, reference, pop culture, design, health, wellness, and religious and spiritual books. With nearly 200 years of history, HarperCollins has published some of the world’s foremost authors, including winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal, and the Caldecott Medal. HarperCollins is consistently at the forefront of innovation, using digital technology to create unique reading experiences and expand the reach of its authors. You can visit HarperCollins Publishers online at: http://www.harpercollins.com.