The BookSmash Challenge

So HarperCollins is doing a cool thing, and I wanted to let you all know about it. The idea is that ebooks could be so much more than they are, but so far nobody’s really figured out what that’s supposed to be. Right now we’re basically treating ebooks as print books, and the experience of reading them is more or less the same, give or take a few trade-offs. Aside from a couple of minor things, though, like changing front sizes and such, no one’s really leveraged the idea that this is a new technology with a lot of new possibilities. Maybe you like ebooks as they are–a lot of people do. But maybe you have an idea so brilliant, and an implementation so amazing, that we’ll wonder how we ever lived without it.

Which brings us to the cool thing. The publishing industry doesn’t really know what to do with ebooks, but maybe you do. Maybe you have some brilliant idea about what an ebook could be, or should be, and you’ve just never had a book to play with to put your idea together. Well, now you can use mine, and if you use it well you can win a bunch of money. HarperCollins has created the BookSmash Challenge as a contest to see what people can do with ebooks, and they’ve released the full digitial assets of some of their books, including my PARTIALS, for you to do whatever you want with.

There’s a whole press release, which I won’t bore you with, but there’s the salient part:

Submissions will be accepted between June 6, 2013, and September 5, 2013, via They can be developed as an app, enhanced book, or other digital reading experience, and should be available to readers on iOS and Android platforms, as well as across the web. 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, and CEO of LiveDeal, Inc., Mike Edelhart, 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.

Sound like fun? Go for it. I’d love to see what you can do with PARTIALS, so let your imagination run loose. An app? An enhanced ebook? Something we haven’t even considered yet? Time to make the future.

One Response to “The BookSmash Challenge”

  1. Nathan Williams says:

    My suggestion isn’t anything big, but I think they could be used as a promotional piece to encourage people to buy the Hardback and Paperback books – especially during the initial release. You include them as a free addition or a small additional charge.

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