Bibliophile, meet technophile

Feel like you should read more books, but can't bear to part with your smartphone? Let it help you, with this range of reading and writing apps

Feature by Jenni Ajderian | 02 Oct 2014
  • Books

Book-lovers of Scotland, why just read? Advanced capabilities and an open app-publishing market means that there is a veritable cornucopia of apps out there just waiting to enhance your bibliophilic experience.

You can write:

Your pal’s running late, the train is delayed, you’re waiting for your supermarket delivery to arrive. Perfect time to brainstorm some ideas for your bestseller.’s app Writing Prompts is a simple app that generates a set of ideas to spark your imagination and get you writing something, anything, whenever it’s convenient for you. Random combinations of settings, characters and moods can give you a few starting points, or you could request a random pre-written phrase, and let your muse figure out how the story got there. As ever, the app only provides the inspiration, but it’s the pseudo-random nature of these constantly-regenerating prompts that can rouse the writer within.

You can listen:

Combining audiobooks and written text, the giants Kindle and Audible have joined forces to bring us Whispersync for Voice. Using the Kindle app, you can upgrade your existing library to be linked to an audiobook, and switch between just text and accompanied text and audio within the same app. Toggling between the two, and keeping your place at the same time, means you can read the story when it’s convenient, or have it spoken to you while your hands or eyes are otherwise engaged. Since the written and spoken forms are presented simultaneously, similar apps have been produced and billed as language-learning devices, though Amazon’s grasp of user-friendly interfaces gives this the edge.

You can judge:

We’ve all been scanning QR codes for a while now, but Snaptell have taken Optical Reader technology a step further to recognise the titles of books. The app can then search online for reviews, recommendations, and pointers for where to get the best price both online and in local bookstores. Quick and simple to use, this little free app also works with CDs and DVDs on sale in the UK or the US. Judging a book by its cover just got easier.

You can insult:

Tired of duelling with swords and not words? Frustrated that you always leave the tavern before coming up with the silver-tongued insult that could have spared your good name? Fret no more, cus, for the Bard himself is here to help. One of a whole genre of insult apps, Shakespearean Insults holds a cache of Billy’s greatest hits. Along with all the cross-dressing and murder, Shakey’s plays were full of sizzling one-liners, thou doghearted barnacle, all of which are sure to bring the pain when simply biting your thumb won’t quite do.

You can, well, read:

While we’re all happy to download the classics for free, it would be nice if those struggling emerging writers out in the world could afford to pay their rent. IndieBound combines a love of reading with community-spiritedness and a hint of exclusivity with their social reading, book-buying and networking app. Only available on iOS for the moment, but covering both the UK and the US, IndieBound lets you locate your local independent bookstores and make your purchases from their online stores. As well as helping out new writers, you can help put a little bit of cash back into a local business, instead of going to one of the giants of the high street.