BookSmash Challenge
Written by Alex Armstrong   
Saturday, 08 June 2013

Book publisher HarperCollins has launched a competition with a top prize of $15,000 for an app related to reading and discovering books and authors that uses its OpenBook API.

HarperCollins has a prestigious history. Founded in New York City in 1817 it claims to be:

The house of Mark Twain, the Brontë sisters, Thackeray, Dickens, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Margaret Wise Brown.

It also states:

Consistently at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement, HarperCollins is the first publisher to digitize its content and create a global digital warehouse to protect the rights of its authors, meet consumer demand, and generate additional business opportunities.


Its OpenBook API was launched in beta in April 2012 together with a developer site. Introducing developers to the new API, Rich Rothstein posted:

The purpose of this api to make the task of getting information on our books and authors a much simpler task for those who need the information. If you have a killer app or web site, let us know. We would love to see what you have done.

 

booksmash1

 

The new competition, which is being hosted by Challenge Post, is designed to get devs to produce apps that use the API. You have until September 5th to create either functioning or proof of concept app, or update an existing app to include the Open Book API.  

Apps can be native smartphone or tablet apps (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile), web apps (mobile or desktop), or desktop apps (Windows PC, Mac Desktop). You need to submit screenshots, a demonstration video and provide a way for the judges to access your app. Entries will be judged on creativity and originality, implementation including how well it integrates the OpenBook API and its potential impact on publishing and readers.

In addition to the Grand Prize of $15,000, there's a Runner-Up prize of $8,000 and a Popular Choice prize of $2,000.

Like other Challenge Post contests, cash prizes in the competition can be won by individuals, teams and organizations of less than 50 people. Larger organizations can enter and compete for the Large Organization Recognition Award. It is open to individuals and teams of individuals who have reached the age of majority in their country of residence throughout the world, apart from territories where it is against the law to participate in US-based contests (Puerto Rico, Quebec, Cuba, Sudan, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Italy, Myanmar and other countries designated by the United States Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control).

Although the OpenBook API seems to have been pretty much overlooked until now, judging from its forum, it seems to offer an interesting set of features - exclusive book data, author data, and content not available to the general public, and which cannot be distributed without HarperCollins written approval. After the close of the competition developers may apply for an extended developer key  - so this isn't necessarily a short term opportunity.

 

booksmash2

 

More Information

Booksmash Challenge

HarperCollins Developer site

Challenge Post

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