Why I Created an App For My Book

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The Adderall Diaries is now available as an app for iPhone and iPad.

The app is different from the kindle or iBook version, both just released. Like the kindle and the iBook it includes the entire book with a proprietary reader, but The Adderall Diaries app also includes a discussion board to talk about the book with other readers, extras like sixty pages of book tour diaries and a video interview, along with a feed to keep you up to date with news and events.

I built this app, with the good people at Electric Literature (I don’t actually know how to build an app) (so when I say “I built this app” it’s not technically true), because I don’t like the way current ebooks are packaged. The Adderall Diaries was coming out as an ebook whether I wanted it to or not and I wanted to offer readers a better experience.

The most important thing was the discussion board. I’ve learned from running The Rumpus the importance of community. In the fractured media landscape, when we get almost buried in content and shifting platforms, we want to be able to experience art with others. We want to talk with others about what we read and listen to. It’s what’s made The Rumpus Book Club such a success.

The Rumpus Book Club is also where I found that people, lots of people, were reading books on their phone. I didn’t believe it at first but the numbers were undeniable. Then when I saw how a book could look on an iPad I knew that a significant percentage of readers were going in this direction.

But if people were reading on their phones and iPads why were the books so bad? Why wasn’t there a discussion board included with the book? A news feed? Extras? And where was the cover?

I think packaging matters, layout, title, cover art, font. It all informs the bond between the reader and the text. We prefer books bound with covers to loose pages from a laser printer. I’m certain that a lot of these innovations, innovations that aren’t really innovations because the technology already exists, will soon be available for eBooks. But I didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t.

The Adderall Diaries was released in paper and electronic form last Thursday, September 28.

I prefer to read on paper but as a writer I want to be read. To be a writer is a gift and I’ve always felt that the reader is doing the writer a favor so I want my work available in whatever medium the reader wants to read it.

Click here to purchase The Adderall Diaries app. And please let me know what you think.

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See also Why I Write


Stephen Elliott is the author of seven books, including the memoir The Adderall Diaries and the novel Happy Baby. He is the founding editor of The Rumpus. His feature film debut, About Cherry, was distributed by IFC. His second movie, based on his novel Happy Baby, is forthcoming. More from this author →