Here’s a roundup of this week’s developments in digital publishing.


Book clubs go digital with Skype

Book clubs are no longer just middle-aged women with cups of tea in a dainty little living room. Thanks to technology, geographic boundaries are non-existent to like-minded book lovers. Nine book clubs across the United States used the group video calling on Skype and took part in an hour-long discussion with “The Ten-Year Nap” author, Meg Wolitzer. With participants coming from Austin, Texas to Florida and Virginia, members not only discussed the book but also engaged with the author.

It seems that virtual book clubs are the natural next step for authors and readers.


Dr Seuss apps go on sale


From August 29 through October 2, ten Dr. Seuss omBooks will be on sale for $1.99, including popular series such as The Berenstain Bears, Little Critter, Five Little Monkeys and Smithsonian Collection. Visit the Oceanhouse Media Facebook for more information.


eBook sound effects are here

Booktrack, the New York start up backed by Peter Thiel, the co-founder and former CEO of PayPal and a Facebook director, is bringing audio effects to a host of books including classics like Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Romeo and Juliet, allowing readers listen to chinking of china cups Mr Darcy’s tea parties or Peter Pan and Tinkerbell flying into action.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Peter Pan, The Three Musketeers are also on the way soon.

The clever technology automatically recognizes an individual’s reading speed and paces the soundtrack with the corresponding text.

Paul Cameron, Booktrack’s co-founder and CEO, said users can “now instantly replicate a movie-like sound experience and fundamentally transform their reading experience – it’s jet fuel for e-books,” he adds.


CNN buys Zite app for iPad

CNN is steadily building up its digital media portfolio with the purchase of Zite, an iPad app that serves as a personalized magazine for news, articles, blogs, videos and other content from both niche and mainstream publications. KC Estenson, general manager of CNN Digital, explained in a statement that CNN wants to become a leader in the personalized publishing and content space:

We think we can advance the industry in a meaningful way that helps content creators expand their businesses while growing the distribution of a product that people already love. The Zite technology can also help CNN’s Websites and apps serve more personalized content, making our current digital services even better.