Tuesday, 13 November 2018

REVIEW: The Pigeonhole App - an online book club


The Pigeonhole

Book lovers and book bloggers, if you haven't already heard of The Pigeonhole you really should check it out!

I was introduced to The Pigeonhole approximately 2 months ago and since then I've recommended it to a number of friends.

Launched in September 2014, The Pigeonhole is an online book club. You download the app (for Android or iOS) onto your phone and then sign up - simple!  Once signed up, you pick a book (or two) and start to read through the app.  There will be a limited number of spaces for each book, so if you see one that takes your fancy you better sign up quickly!  Once a book goes live, you may or may not be able to join in. I believe it depends how many spaces are left. After the serialisation has concluded, the completed book will remain available for one month. 

The books are serialised, with bite-sized installments, or 'staves', released at a set frequency (usually daily). Each stave is usually 30-40 minutes long, which is great for me as it fits perfectly into my lunch hour at work. However this does require a bit of patience as you have to wait 24 hours for the next installment to be released, unless you join in the middle of a serialisation or as a private book club, in which case you will receive all released staves immediately followed by the remaining ones at the frequency stated for that particular book.  The serialisation approach is great for readers who can't seem to find enough time to sit down with a book. Having an entire tome in front of you can be a bit off-putting if you don't think you have the time to read it, however bite-sized daily chunks can seem much more manageable.  I personally liked the serialisation because where I would otherwise have carried on reading, it forced me to put the book down and gave me time to really consider what I had read, rather than pushing on and causing important details to get lost.

In order to add a book club feel to the experience, readers can add comments as they read. You will see numbers in the right hand column. These numbers indicate where a comment has been left and how many comments there are in that section.  It's a great way to share your thoughts on the book as you're reading and to connect with fellow readers. I've noticed that certain readers pop up a lot and a few seem to know each other now! On the odd occasion, you'll even get the author responding to reader's comments.

As an added bonus, with some books there are 'extras' that you can access as the book progresses. These provide some insight as to the writing process, some historical context, a playlist for the book etc. This is a great way of getting something extra out of the reading process.

As well as reading along with The Pigeonhole community, I understand that you can get together with a group of friends/colleagues and create a private book club for those books marked 'At Your Leisure'. I have not tried this, so I can't say how it works or how effective it is.

If the above hasn't already piqued your interest, then maybe the range of books will. So far, I have read:

  • The Corset by Laura Purcell
  • Ten Little Astronauts by Damon L Wakes (a short story)
  • Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer
  • The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz

There have also been books by Kate Hart, Jodi Picoult, Rachel Abbott, Minette Walters, Ken Follett and other well-known authors.

Furthermore, there are a list of books that you can read 'at your leisure', which are mostly classic literature.

The Pigeonhole has been nominated for the Digital Innovation Awards at the London Book Fair, Future Book's Digital Campaign of the Year for its work promoting Ken Follett's A Column of Fire an its founding editor, Anna Jean Hughes, was named as a Rising Star of the publishing industry by The Bookseller magazine.

If you're interested in knowing more about The Pigeonhole, you can visit them at thepigeonhole.com, or on Twitter or Facebook

All in all, The Pigeonhole is a clever and fun interactive experience for book lovers who enjoy discussing what they're reading and for those who want to read but don't seem to find the time to do so.  There's nothing to lose, so why not download the app and give it a go...?

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