Deseret Book's new BookShelf app: Mixing the old with the new

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The out-of-print works of B.H. Roberts, "Key to the Science of Theology" by Parley P. Pratt and other works from church history are back on Deseret Book's shelves - electronically.

Of the more than 1,500 titles in the recently released Deseret BookShelf app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, about half are considered out-of-print books, said Matt McBride, director of digital products for Deseret Book.

It's taken years of scanning and retyping to present these titles in a digital and indexed format, said McBride. Future out-of-print titles include the volumes in the "The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley."

Deseret BookShelf app is free to download from the App Store and includes eight free e-books with download. The free books include "Jesus the Christ," "Discourses of Brigham Young" and the best-selling "Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt." Hundreds of other books, including recently released books, are available to buy. An Android platform version of the app will be made available late summer 2011.

The BookShelf app is designed "to provide a tailored e-reading experience for LDS books," McBride said. "This app allows the reader to interact with the books in a way that facilitates gospel study."

This interaction includes being able to search your entire indexed library, not just one title at a time. Future versions of the app will include tools for lesson or talk preparation - all without leaving the app, he added.

The number of books available to buy on the app increases daily. McBride anticipates that the app will "offer an increasing number of exclusive direct-to-digital publications."

The app builds a personal e-book library which allows for reading and marking books. It also links directly to the scriptures when referenced by the authors.

"This is a remarkable era for publishers when content can be made readily available in whatever format suits your personal tastes," Sheri Dew, president and CEO of Deseret Book, stated in a news release about the new e-book technology. "We now have the capacity to publish books that can literally be accessed anywhere in the world in a matter of moments."

E-books, or electronic books, are growing in popularity the world over. According to Book Industry Study Group (BISG) research, the first quarter of 2010 saw e-book sales jump to 5 percent of total book sales from the meager 1.5 percent in 2009. Wired Magazine reports that sells more e-books than hardcover books with a ratio of 143 e-books to every 100 hardcover books.

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