In January, Random House Inc. launched a new social reading platform on Facebooks app center called BookScout. Back then, I asked Amanda Close (Senior Vice President, Digital Marketplace Development) 6 questions about the book discovery app.
This month they have launched a new mobile version of the app so I asked Amanda some more questions about what the release involved and why developing a mobile version was important to enhance the users experience as well as to prompt more discussion and sharing of books people love.
What is the newest up date to BookScout?
Our latest updates to BookScout include a mobile version of the Facebook app and seasonal reading recommendations. The reading recommendations kick off with “Summer Reads”, which includes buzz worthy titles from all publishers.
What benefits are there to the reader and BookScout users from the newest release?
We discovered that people love to talk about books at any time and in any place. With this in mind, we developed a mobile version of the app to make BookScout accessible everywhere and on every device. Now BookScout users can tag books, connect with friends and share reading recommendations on-the-go. The new book recommendations feature helps readers expand book discovery beyond their in-app network of friends.
Have you seen more engagement since the mobile launch? And why do you think this is important for the audience you are trying to reach?
Soon after the mobile launch we experienced one of our biggest spikes in new users. We’re also seeing great engagement in terms of return visits. Mobile and tablet users are almost three times more likely to return to the app every day vs. non-mobile users. They also view more pages per visit and spend more time on the app than non-mobile visitors. Studies show that people with smart phones check their Facebook pages an average of 14 times each day. Creating a mobile version of BookScout was a natural next step to connect with the social media savvy, book-loving audience we are trying to reach.
The seasonal books recommendation feature sounds like an interesting way to further prompt user feedback, who is making the recommendations and what plans have you got for other seasonal reading dates in the calendar?
We have a dedicated team of editors exploring fun themes and keeping a watchful eye on titles across all publishers to include in upcoming recommendations. A few we’re excited about are big books for Fall, back-to-school books, and reads for foodies.
To see for yourself how the app is functioning on Facebook and to join in with the social sharing take a peek here.