BookAnd – 3D Book Community
Description: BookAnd is a little different from the Aldikos and Kindle apps on the Play Store. For one, it isn't a store and for another you don't read any books. Now, this sounds a little strange, I know. What BookAnd – along with the accompanying community – do is provide you a place in which to explore book titles, see what others are saying about them and read reviews.
BookAnd is a social network that focusses solely on getting people together around books, it's something I see is lacking in the market. It's not like there isn't demand for this sort of thing either, how many people must go to Amazon just so they can see reviews? Imagine that but in a world dominated by books on your tablet. The real icing on the cake that's offered here is the ability to create your own 3D bookstore by adding what books you want to display in the store's shelves and then you can customise this store with items to alter its look and feel to just how you want it. This then allows you to build a catalog of books that you've either read before or looking to read and write reviews on the books. Think Amazon lists but presented in a fantastic manner with great control.
Below is a video of the app in use for Android
How It Works: In order to start using the app you'll have to create an account which, is about as easy it gets, there's no hassle or fuss just a simple sign up page. After this, the app will take through some menus giving the option of what store you'd like to create. There's a number of book stores to choose from and they all come with a distinct feel and different sizes. Once you've chosen your desired type of shop it's them time to name the store and add a little fictional feel to the store by writing about it. BookAnd then gives you a most welcome show of tips to show you what all of the menus can do and what you'll find there.
customizing the store is nice and intuitive, the app gives you 3000 coins to buy decor for the store, as you can see below I haven't put a lot in mine but, I was going for the minimal, sophisticated book store look.
In order to gain more coins to buy more stuff for your store there are a number of ways that BookAnd will allow you to do that and it's not through straight cash either, all you have to do is use the app to its full potential and coin will become yours.
There's also a companion app that's required to create book covers for all the shelves that you'll be wanting to stack up that works well and is intuitive. This app allows you to create stunning book covers from taking a photo of books you own, which is fantastic if you've got book cases upon cases that you want to share with the community. The app's called 3D Coverlab and is available on the Play Store just like BookAnd is.
Opinion: I'm a very technical person, I grew up with old-school 8-bit computers and I've always had a genuine passion for technology. Right now, on my desk here there's two tablets, a Nexus S, an Xbox, the PC and of course, my Kindle. Who doesn't own a Kindle by now? Along with all this technology though, is a stack of my favourite story arc from Stephen King, The Dark Tower. These are tatty paperbacks I keep around for nostalgia, the point here is that no matter how digital are lives become we'll always have a hook to the past. I absolutely loved going to a good book store, there was something about high shelves packed with books that has always fascinated me. I love my Kindle, but shopping for books I want to read on it or the web interface is soulless and painful.
BookAnd keeps this old idea of actually shopping for a book alive in a digital manner. The app is well designed and gives back some of what we miss about going to the bookstore. It's a great way to find new books to read as it hooks into others feelings about the books themselves. There's no app like this out there, it's a fun way of finding new content to read and enables you to join in and create your own book store, something I'm sure anyone who has a book on their nightstand permanently has thought of at least once. The idea of a social network surrounding common ground isn't exactly new, Apple have done it with music using Ping and then there's Instagram but, this has to be the first of it's kind for literature done in such a highly polished, accessible and fun manner.
- Speed (5/5) – The app loaded quickly on my Touchpad and even quicker on my Tegra 2 A100, it's exceptionally fast for what the app does and setting your account up is slick as well
- Features (4/5) – BookAnd brings a good variety of features to the tablet that work well and create a fantastic environment to relax and find new books in.
- Theme (5/5) – I'm not normally a fan of skeuomorphs but, here is the type of app where they belong and they really add to the overall experience of the app.
- Overall (4/5) – There's more than enough to keep you entertained if you're a bookworm, if you convince your friends – wherever they may be – to join in on the fun then you'll enjoy this even more. The key to this is people, with more people this app and its social network will only go from strength to strength.
- There are no rules here so just have fun, you can always do it over again.
- The more you interact with others' book stores the more coin you'll get meaning you can add more to your store.
- Whatever you do, just have fun and discover a couple of books whilst you're there!
- The app is a slick and easy to use way of creating something that you hold dear and gives a way to interact with others.
- It's got Amazon's bestsellers front and center ready and waiting for you to explore in the app's stunning fashion.
- With more and more people this is going to get better and better.
- Some of what you'll find isn't always what you're looking for, with others driving the wheel you've got to expect differences.
- The app is only available for tablets but, this type of thing is best done on screens of large sizes.
It's been a long time since I came across an app that was so different and yet so polished at the same time. Not only does this app represent a breath of fresh air in the way that we shop for books but it does so in style and with social hooks that will have you coming back for more. BookAnd isn't just about having a speedy and slick app, it's more to do with those social hooks that form a coherent and deep social network that allows you to share your ideal format of a book store and your curation of your favorite works both and new old.
I'm a big reader and whilst I love the ability to download and read books digitally across a number of devices seamlessly, I still miss my old regular trip the book store to see what's in stock and perhaps see if there's another addition to a favorite author's back catalog. BookAnd goes a long way to recreate this and does so with not a single hiccup. It's a fantastic app and something that you have to install if you read a lot of books, you've just got to.