“We’ve always been a marketing focused company, but we’re ramping it up,” says Consortium president Julie Schaper of the decision to launch an app to promote the company’s books to consumers. On Friday, the App Store began carrying Bookslinger, which comes with five preloaded short stories. Each Friday a new story from one of Consortium’s clients will be delivered to the device on which the app is loaded.
Instead of a buy button, the app, which was developed over the past year in conjunction with Bookmobile, has a link to the Consortium's Facebook page so that consumers can learn more about the author and the collection. “It really is a discovery tool more than a purchasing tool,” says Schaper. “And we didn’t want to favor one vendor over another.”
The app, which is free and works with both the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, is intended to introduce readers to new writers and cultivate fans for indie press books. The first five stories come from collections by PW’s own Craig Morgan Teicher (Cradle Book), Holly Black (Poison Eaters), Ry Cooder (Los Angeles Stories), Caitlin Horrocks (This Is Not Your City), and Michael Czyzniejewski (Elephants in Our Bedroom). In addition to finding stories by author or title, they are also categorized by topics ranging from Love & Consequences to Boy Books and Blood & Guts. Participating publishers include Archipelago Books, Arsenal Pulp Press, Bellevue Literary Press, BOA Editions, City Lights Publishers, Coach House Books, and Small Beer Press.
The name of the app hearkens back to Consortium’s beginnings. David Wilk sold Truck Distribution, which was renamed Bookslinger. When the company transformed from a small wholesaling cooperative to a full-service distribution, it took its current name, Consortium Book Sales and Distribution, and is now part of Perseus. “It seemed really fun to bring back something from the start of Consortium to the future,” says Schaper. Looked at a different way, Bookslinger, or “Books linger,” brings together stories that resonate long after they have been read.