HarperCollins Launches Book Software Development Contest, Building on Success of Hackathon

Building on the success of the publishing hackathon, a 32-hour competition between software developers to create the best new publishing start-up, HarperCollins has launched the BookSmash challenge, a four-month competition with similar goals.

The competition implores software developers to use work from best-selling HarperCollins authors as well as metadata, covers and other assets from HarperCollins to create new ways of reading, discovering, sharing and engaging with books.

There will be four prizes awarded, including a grand prize and a “people’s choice” award; $25,000 in cash prizes will go to the winners. The winning entries — either an app, website or standalone program — will be chosen by a panel of judges, including entrepreneur and author of Curation Nation Steve Rosenbaum, former Apple executive Erik Lammerding and HarperCollins chief digital officer Chantal Restivo- Alessi.

“Developers who wish to innovate around book products often find challenges in gaining access to authors’ content, as well as understanding rights, distribution, and legal issues,” said Restivo-Alessi in a press release (below). “We hope to bridge this gap by making content and guidance available, and encouraging participants to think outside the box about the reading experience as a whole.”

This contest may have been timed to build on the success of a publishing hackathon, which was held in May. The winner of the hackaton, Evoke — a social discovery platform for young-adult books — was announced at Book Expo America last week and received a $10,000 cash prize.

[Press Release]
HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS ANNOUNCES THE BOOKSMASH CHALLENGE: BREAK THE BINDING

Competition Encourages Developers to “Unleash” the Book

HarperCollins Publishers today announced the launch of The BookSmash Challenge (http://booksmash.challengepost.com/), a four-month-long contest that challenges developers to create new digital products that “break the binding” and re-imagine the book. In conjunction with ChallengePost, a leading software competition platform, HarperCollins invites participants to find inspiration in the work of authors who are enthusiastic about exploring unique ways for consumers to interact with their work. The BookSmash Challenge seeks innovative thinkers interested in using imagination and technology to build software that goes beyond the traditional ways we read and discover books.

“Developers who wish to innovate around book products often find challenges in gaining access to authors’ content, as well as understanding rights, distribution, and legal issues,” said Chantal Restivo-Alessi, HarperCollins Chief Digital Officer. “We hope to bridge this gap by making content and guidance available, and encouraging participants to think outside the box about the reading experience as a whole.”

At launch, more than a dozen HarperCollins authors, including 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, are joining the project as Author Innovators, making their content available for challenge participants to use in the creation of their products. HarperCollins is providing full access to its API for the selected materials – which includes copyrighted books, covers, and complete metadata.

“As the digital publishing era dawns, it’s crucial to attract new audiences, and actively engage with our core readership. I appreciate HarperCollins’ innovation in launching The BookSmash Challenge – the venture once again shows my publisher’s dedication to building brands and extending reader/author interactivity,” said New York Times bestselling author James Rollins.

Submissions will be accepted between June 6, 2013, and September 5, 2013, via http://booksmash.challengepost.com/. They can be developed as software programs or mobile apps, and should be available to readers on iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, PC, Mac, or web/mobile web platforms. Judging of the digital products will be based on originality of idea, implementation of idea, and potential impact.

From the eligible submissions, there will be four prizes awarded: Grand Prize, Runner-Up, Popular Choice, and the HarperCollins Recognition Award. A group 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, and HarperCollins Chief Digital Officer, Chantal Restivo- Alessi, will review the entries and select the Grand Prize and Runner-Up winners. Additionally, the projects will be posted to the ChallengePost online gallery this Fall, where members of the public will be able to vote for their favorite submission for the Popular Choice category. Lastly, the HarperCollins Recognition Award, a non-cash prize, will be awarded to a participating large organization. A total of $25,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the creators of the winning projects.

For full BookSmash Challenge details, please visit http://booksmash.challengepost.com/.

ABOUT HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS

HarperCollins, one of the largest English-language publishers in the world, is a subsidiary of News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV). Headquartered in New York, HarperCollins has publishing groups around the world including the HarperCollins General Books Group, HarperCollins Children’s Books Group, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, HarperCollins UK, HarperCollins Canada, HarperCollins Australia/New Zealand and HarperCollins India. HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children’s books, cookbooks, mystery, romance, reference, 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. 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. You can visit HarperCollins Publishers on the Internet at: http://www.harpercollins.com

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