In November, we rolled out a redesign of Bluefire Reader for iOS, and later this year we will be rolling out a similar redesign of our Android app that will use Android 4.x design elements and styling to deliver an app that will light up in users’ hands. Our free versions of Bluefire Reader are the basis for our white-label apps. We call the free versions our “reference apps.”
With the update to our iOS reference app we’re included the ability for our white-label partners to add a fourth tab to their apps. That fourth tab, or Auxiliary Tab as we’ve been calling it, allows our partners to set up a second web view from inside the app that can be used for any purpose that they’d like – as long as it doesn’t run afoul of Apple’s rules regarding in-app purchasing!
We’ve received quite a few questions about the Auxiliary Tab from partners who weren’t sure just what to do with it, so I thought I’d share some of the ideas that we’ve had on how to get the most out of this new feature.
Let’s start with what we did with Bluefire Reader. We used the Get Books web tab in our app as a place where users can download free ebooks from our friends at Feedbooks. In that pane we consume an OPDS feed from Feedbooks that gives access to public domain ebooks and free ebooks that can be downloaded directly into the app. We feel that is a great way to demonstrate some of the app’s functionality while also making available classic literature to our users.
We used the Auxiliary Tab in Bluefire Reader to share information about our company, providing marketing and other insights into Bluefire’s business and partners. We’ve found this space to be a valuable way of marketing our company in a relatively subtle way.
Of course, partners can use these tabs for other similar strategies. Most of our partners have some sort of credential-based “cloud shelf” in the Get Books tab, and we strongly recommend that they stay with that for that tab. But there are so many possible options for the fourth tab. Obviously you can offer free ebooks, or can use the tab for marketing purposes as we do. Here are some other options that we recommend our partners consider.
Billboard page: A page that features cover images and blurbs about new books can be a useful way of showing the type of content available in your store as long as you don’t give users the option to buy books from within that tab.
Blog: If you have a blog on your site that is used to promote your products, the Auxiliary Tab is an ideal place to feature that. This is a nice way to share information on new ebooks that you’re promoting or let readers know details about your company’s operations. As long as there are no calls to action in this tab, and no pricing information for books, a blog can be a nice fit for many of our partners.
FAQ/User Guide: The Auxiliary Tab is an ideal place to post an FAQ or User Guide to address user questions about your app or store. It can be used as a supplement to your existing ePub-formatted User Guide that ships with the app or can take the place of that book.
Free or sample books feed: If you’d like to offer users the chance to download free samplers from books, you can include a browsable view into that list from the Auxiliary Tab. This is an ideal way to tease content while avoiding soliciting user purchases. Any sample books included in this tab must avoid pricing information or a call to action to download.
Localized webpage: If your website is available in multiple languages, you can deliver one language in the main Web View tab and another in the Auxiliary Tab.
Recommended reading: You can highlight books that you feel are especially notable or popular that are available through your store.
Author interviews or bonus content: Offer multimedia content relevant to the books you sell such as author interviews, videos, trailers or other similar content.
Really, there is no limit to the choices you can make. We encourage you to think creatively, brainstorm ideas and consider the best way to maximize the perceptions that users will have of your apps. We’re always available if you’d like to bounce your ideas off of us.
We’re excited to see what our partners come up with.