App marks new milestone for publishing in Wales

Book publishing in Wales reached a new milestone today (August 5th) with the launch of the first App enabling readers to purchase and download titles from Welsh publishers.

Three titles in the Welsh language and one in English are available via the pilot scheme which was launched by the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones AM at the National Eisteddfod, the country’s premier cultural festival.

The landmark first title available in English is the acclaimed ‘Seashore Safari’ published by leading Cardiff-based firm Graffeg, in which marine biologist Judith Oakley takes readers on a colourful voyage of discovery along Britain’s shoreline, identifying the multitude of species living in rocky crevices, clinging to boulders or sheltering under sand or seaweed.

It is one of Graffeg’s best sellers and covers species from the Outer Hebrides to the Scilly Isles, Ireland and the western coast of France and Holland.

The book is available via the new free App developed for the Welsh Books Council with support from the Welsh Government.

It is being offered initially through the App Store for use on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. This will be followed by an Android version available through Google Play for use on a number of other devices, and a Web version which will be offered through the Gwales website and on the publishers’ own websites.

With the launch of Ap Llyfrau Cymru / Welsh Books App, other publishers will be given an opportunity to join the scheme, with readers downloading the App free of charge, then paying for individual titles at a discounted online price.

The First Minister welcomed the new App in a speech at the National Eisteddfod at Denbigh in North Wales today, and described it as an exciting and essential development in Welsh publishing.

His comments were echoed by John Griffiths, the Welsh Minister for Culture and Sport who added: “It’s vital that we use new technology to promote Welsh books in both languages, in order to attract new readers, in particular children and young adults.”

Peter Gill, managing director of Graffeg said: “We are immensely proud that, in our 10th anniversary year, one of our titles has been chosen for this very significant development in Welsh publishing; one which will make excellent books from Wales more widely and readily available worldwide.”

The App pilot is the latest step in the Welsh Book Council’s strategy to ensure a wide selection of books from Wales in both English and Welsh are available online. To date, there are over 750 e-books on the Gwales website.

The app is available from iTunes. Click here to buy.

Seashore Safaris is also available for £11.99 from Graffeg. Click here to buy.

Photograph: From left to right, Elwyn Jones (Chief Executive, Welsh Books Council), John Griffiths (Minister for Culture and Sport), Carwyn Jones (First Minister), Judith Oakley (Author) and Phil Davies (Direction of Information and Promotion, Welsh Books Council).