Anahita Padmanabhan ’18/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Ever go somewhere and imagined a book taking place there? Ever imagined finding out that the exact place you are standing is in a book? Well Squirl’s founders Serie Wolfe and Jef Van der Avoort believed that readers always want to be in the center of a book, and they believed in creating an app that allows their users to get that feeling. Squirl is currently a Kickstarter and is looking for funding to go live with the app. With only around 14% of their goal achieved, this app deserves more attention, and here is why.
Squirl provides a unique experience for anyone involved in the literary world. Once the app is downloaded, the user can input his or her reading preferences. With this, and knowing the user’s location, Squirl is able to connect literary works to the locations, and excerpt of the book will pop up on the users phone. This allows the user to check into the literary location, read the excerpt, and if the user decides that he or she would like to read the book, the book can be purchased through the app itself. The app is not limited to best selling books, it also recommends lesser known books, recent books by authors who are not well known, and even classics.
It also doubles as social media. Once the user has checked in at a literary location and found a book, they user can join in on conversations with other users and even with the author. The app also allows user to follow books, authors, locations, even characters they like to get related information!
The app also offers a lot for authors. For authors, this app is a great way to be discovered around the world. Authors, after creating verified profile, can add locations to connect to their books. It also allows authors to link their social media accounts to communicate with fans and to put more information out into the world. Authors can participate in conversations with their readers, which means authors can have a more person interaction with the people who read and appreciate their works. They can also get followers for their books, for themselves, or even for their characters, expanding the range of people who might stumble across their books.
Squirl even involves local book stores. The app allows the bookstores to work with Squirl to put books that the stores have for sale on the app. When Squirl users wants to purchase the book, the app will show them the closest bookstores that have it. This allows small, local bookstores to get more customers and increase their revenue, and even get their name out for more people to visit.
The Kickstarter campaign ends at the end of November and in December, the beta version will be launched. During this period the app will focus on English publications. In January the creators will work on any fixes and suggestions to release the app publicly in February of next year. At this point, Squirl hopes to be closer to adding books in multiple languages. It is also going to be released for free.
This app has already gotten attention. It is a Kickstarter staff pick. Galleycat, a major publication, is even featuring this Squirl Kickstarter as its “Publishing Project of the Week” and the Kickstarter has even gotten some media attention. With 40 backers and $11,171, the Kickstarter seems to be making progress. However, with only twelve days left in this project, getting another $64,000 seems like a long way to go. Luckily, the project has backers from around the world, making this a truly global endeavor. There are backers from the US, the UK, from Germany and the Netherlands, and Canada, Denmark, and Afghanistan. As this project spreads across the globe, Squirl increases its chances to reach their goal.
Squirl is an all round benefit to anyone who has any sort of connection to the literary world. Whether it is a reader, an author, or a bookstore, this app provides a new way of communicating and marketing, as well as a new way to find something new. This app allows for any where the user goes to become a discovery. Whether it is a small cafe, the corner of a street, or a big city, the app can help the user find a book that takes place where they are. Squirl allows its user to be the ones to discover and to not just have simple recommendations based on previous books. This app will truly allow the user to immerse themselves in their favorite books. Squirl allows us to view the world through a literary perspective. It allows us to be in our books.