Developers, designers, and entrepreneurs coming together to experiment in an untapped vertical.

This first-ever Publishing Hackathon invites developers, designers, and entrepreneurs will come together for 36 hours to experiment in an untapped discovery vertical. The hackathon takes place Saturday, 5/18 - Sunday, 5/19 at The Alley NYC.

Discovery Challenge:

How do we help people find the right book at the right time?

Book discovery needs innovation. It’s never been easier to get a book into a reader’s hands—just one click. But, with over 200,000 books published each year on every topic imaginable, how do people find out about them? There are fewer bookstores to help readers discover exciting authors and ideas. There’s currently no digital experience that replicates the serendipity of browsing bookshelves. Recommendation engines are fairly primitive – they know what you bought, but they don’t know why. In book discovery, there is an opportunity for disruption waiting to be explored.

The teams with the most interesting and exciting projects that help reinvent the way readers discover books will demo to leading VCs, top publishing executives, and tech experts at Book Expo America, the preeminent publishing event of 2013.

The winning team gets $10,000, and a breakfast meeting to pitch an idea to Ari Emanuel, Co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor.

A panel of high-powered experts in publishing, VC and tech will select the winner at Book Expo America.

View full rules





How to enter

Hacks must be entered by 11:00AM, Sunday, May 19 prior to the start of presentations at 1pm! Only teams that attend the Publishing Hackathon can submit.

Every team member:

  1. Click "Accept this Challenge".
  2. Create an account or login using an existing ChallengePost account at This step ensures that all team members are recognized for judging and prizes.
  3. Be sure to read the rules.

Team leader: complete the Enter an Application form on behalf of your team by 12:00 PM Sunday, May 19 Be sure to enter all your team members on the form.

What to include:

  1. The name of your project
  2. A description of your project
  3. At least one image/screenshot of your project

Optional items:

  1. A website where your app can be accessed 
  2. A video of your app
  3. Supporting files, etc. 


Cristina Alesci

Cristina Alesci

Owen Davis

Owen Davis
Managing Director, NYC Seed

Rick Joyce

Rick Joyce
CMO, Perseus Books Group

Miwa Messer

Miwa Messer
Director of Discover Great New Writers, Barnes & Noble

Richard Nash

Richard Nash
VP of Community and Content, Small Demons

Ben Vershbow

Ben Vershbow
New York Public Library Labs

Judging Criteria

  • Quality of the Idea
    Including creativity and originality
  • Implementation of the Idea
    Including user experience and design
  • Potential Impact
    Potential impact on book discovery
  • Functionality
    How well the prototype works