Cathy’s Book App Contest: Win an iPod Touch

cathysbookappOn September 12, 2006, authors Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman released Cathy’s Book, an experiment in transmedia publishing, under the Running Press imprint. The book and its accompanying evidence packet provided a window into the life of Cathy Vickers, a fashion-conscious teenage girl with a penchant for daydreaming and doodling. Readers could follow a series of clues contained within the novel to birth certificates, news clippings, telephone numbers, and websites. Cathy’s Book was a New York Times Best Seller. The subsequent books in the trilogy, Cathy’s Key and Cathy’s Ring, wrapped up Cathy’s story.

Last month, the Cathy trilogy was re-released as an iPhone app, at $0.99 per novel. The app integrates the interactivity of the original novels, and adds animations throughout the story that make the illustrations liberally peppered throughout the book come alive. To celebrate the app’s launch, Running Press Books is giving ARGNet readers the chance to win an iPod Touch and iTunes gift cards. To enter, follow the instructions below.

How to Enter
-Leave a comment in this post between February 9, 2010 and February 16, 2010 responding to one of the following questions:

  • Why did you enjoy the Cathy trilogy, or why do you want to read it?
  • What was your favorite part of the video preview of the Cathy’s Book app linked above?

A Few Reminders
Read the Official Rules to see if you are eligible to participate. The contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia and Canada ages 13 years of age and older as of February 16, 2010. Void in Puerto Rico, the Province of Quebec, and where prohibited by law.

-Include a valid email address, as ARGNet will be using that to contact the winner.
-Only enter once per household during the designated period: multiple entries or entries that do not respond to the above prompts may be disqualified.
-After the entry period closes, ARGNet will use the random integer generator at to select the winners.
-ARGNet will email the winners. If ARGNet does not receive a reply within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.

Click Here to read our interview with Sean Stewart, co-author of the Cathy trilogy.

UPDATE:  the dates listed in this post have been amended to reflect the dates listed in the Official Rules.


  1. Why did you enjoy the Cathy trilogy, or why do you want to read it?

    Haven’t read the Cathy trilogy, but it looks awesome. I want to read it because it appears to combine all of the features of a “traditional” ARG with the unprecedented portability and functionality of the iPhone. How sweet is that?!?

  2. The idea of a transmedia experience of this sort is very interested to me. Just from reading about it and watching the trailer has ensured that I will purchase the books in text. I love when people are able to use old media for new purposes, even more so when they are able to encourage people to read.

    The part of the video I most enjoyed was seeing how the app incorporated the use of the electronics into the device. I think the interweaving of technology will make this a great reading and entertainment experience.

  3. I suppose I should have guessed that the phone numbers and websites would be linked to the appropriate functions of the iPhone, but I still got a smile on my face when she called Cathy so easily 🙂

  4. I enjoyed the original release of Cathy’s Book trilogy because of its (at the time) unusual extensions beyond the traditional boundaries of print storytelling — in other words, its success as an early transmedia experience. With the migration of Cathy’s Book to an iPhone app, the authors are again adapting the story in order to utilize all of the media and technology of the moment (some of which didn’t even exist when the original Cathy’s Book came out in 2006).

  5. My favorite part of the app preview was the fact that at one point it said “Math Sux!” It grabbed my attention because I actually enjoy math. It comes easy to me, but I guess I am one of the few that enjoys it. And the main reason it caught my eye is because it just came out and said “Math Sux!” and didn’t hold back. I respect that 110%. (I also like when the app is loading it says “Cathy’s Book” in a cool font. Good choice!) That is all!

  6. The best moment in the video preview is the phonecall made to Cathy. Not that it hits her voicemail (of course it does), but that it simulates the experience of making a call on that hardware. The sort of physical interactivity that a book cannot do.

  7. What I liked most about the video and the reason I’d want to read this story is because it looks to be packed with personality. All the doodles, pictures and animations should make this a very fun read!

  8. What I liked about the attached video was the way it demonstrated the interactivity of the app. Seems pretty cool to be able to call characters and track her location right inside the app.

  9. What I like about the app: I really like the aesthetics of it, the drawings look personal and fresh and the functionality seems, as far as I can tell, intuitive. I think it’s a great idea to combine transmedial features in one single device – I rather not pick up the phone and call a number that I’d find in a book (it’s still on my 2do list to follow up on the extra material with Dark Arts), but if I read it on my phone I probably would. What I also like about the app is that it gives you the chance to participate in an ARGish universe at your own pace.
    All in all I love to see how the genre of the “interactive book” is developing.
    One big big wish: please develop the Cathy-App for the Google phones too, will you?

  10. I enjoyed the app because it showed how much fun and how easy it all is to use. Stephenie Meyers, are you seeing this?

  11. What was your favorite part of the video preview of the Cathy’s Book app linked above?

    I liked the concept of calling certain characters to get another degree of immersion into the story. I know it’ll be impossible to make it dynamic (carry a conversation with Cathy…), but whatever personality you have the VO do and what you hear from the voicemail, etc. if done right can tug at an emotional level.

    Let’s see if they can do something for War and Peace, hahaha.

  12. I haven’t followed the trilogy, but was amazed by the level of immersion and the creative use of the iphone’s features. This seems like a positive first step in propelling storytelling into the age of new media.

  13. Why did you enjoy the Cathy trilogy, or why do you want to read it?

    I haven’t heard about the Cathy’s trilogy app until today, after reading this post. I personally find it to be quite intriguing because you’re able to listen and read about Cathy life. What stood out to me were the positive and negative emotions that Cathy expresses verbally. It’s like you’re hearing everything that an ordinary teenage girl would put in her diary. I also enjoyed the incorporation of interactive gaming along with it.

    The designers and programmers who created this wonderful app deserve all the appreciation for their hard work. Cathy’s trilogy is the perfect app for any teenage girl. It reassures them that they are not the only ones with problems. Anything that can benefit someone health wise or possibly counter certain effects of depression is the way to go. I hope that their efforts will prove successful.

  14. – Why did you enjoy the Cathy trilogy, or why do you want to read it?

    I’d like to read it because immersive storytelling is much more entertaining than plain-old fiction. Having a mobile version of the books will make it more likely that I I would read it.

    – What was your favorite part of the video preview of the Cathy’s Book app linked above?

    I enjoyed the style of the video, parodying Apple’s iPhone commercials was a nice choice. I also liked the demonstration of integration (being able to dial the phone numbers, view embedded pictures, etc.).

  15. Very unique app. I hope I win the ipod touch so I have something to load this app onto. I am especially intrigued by how interactive it seems.

    Great video. Very much in the spirit of Apple. Clean, concise, and professional.

  16. Why did you enjoy the Cathy trilogy, or why do you want to read it?

    I’d personally be interested in this app since the only ARG type games I’ve played are when I sit down at a computer terminal. I don’t have the portability of the iTouch series and would be interested to see how the ARG game can change from just another website to something I can actually take with me. The idea of ‘transmedia publishing’ seems like the next step in this constantly developing technology we have, and I’m interested to be a part of that.

    Since the rules just say respond to one question, I’ll continue this under the pretense of the first question. Another reason I am interested in the app is that the presentation in the video was well laid out. It hints at enough of the story to give you a glimpse of what there is to be had with Cathy’s Book app, shows a bit of how the ‘transmedia’ interactions work and has that familiar Apple spin on the video.

  17. lifegospel / Bryce Percifield

    February 11, 2010 at 2:58 am

    Why did you enjoy the Cathy trilogy, or why do you want to read it?

    I have never read the Cathy trilogy, but I would like to read it because it combines all the aspects of the usual ARG with a novel (Much like J.C. Hutchin’s book, ‘Dark Arts: Personal Effects’)which is a novel I have enjoyed reading on more than one occasion.

  18. Why did you enjoy the Cathy trilogy, or why do you want to read it?

    I haven’t read the trilogy as of yet but it has grabbed my attention. I would like to read the trilogy because it’s seems like a story you can loose yourself in. That and I haven’t been able to ever refuse a mystery. What can be more fun? I’ve never read a book which includes the aspects of an ARG but I haven’t been able to play an ARG as of yet either so it could be a new experience for me, I’ve always loved new experiences.

  19. I havent read the book but i would love to =]

  20. I’ve read only the first of the Cathy’s trilogy books, and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t expect to discover the various twists and plots in there. I don’t know why I haven’t gotten the next one yet, but I’m definitely going to – I gotta know what happens next, and I’d like to see if my theories play out…

    Also, the app in the video looks amazing. When I read the first book, I accidentally lost a couple of the pieces that came with it. Not with the app! And clicking a number in the journal to call it? Genius. If I had an iPod Touch, I would definitely get that app.

    Even if I don’t win, thanks for this awesome contest! 🙂

  21. Such a shame this app is not able here.

  22. I guess I am especially attracted to the promise of a multimedia experience. This is my first hearing of Cathy’s Book. An “evidence packet”, for real?!! Wow!

    I just love to see technology being used RIGHT!

    [email protected]

  23. stephanie cortes

    February 12, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    truthfully, i want to start out by saying that im not a big fan of reading. but i would totally read this! i love how interactive it is and that it has an awesome art-sy edge to it and ,me being an artist, it draws me into it. the best part, to me, is the part where it showed her drawings and doodles. i hope to win and this would be the first app i get.

  24. Why would you like to read cathy’s trilogy?

    I am new to ARG. Never done one before. I learned about ARGs through Jane Mcgonigal and the ted conference. The story seems very compelling and I am astonished that something like this even exists! We need more things like this in our society and I love this idea. What would make it more compelling than other ARGs? It’s on an IPHONE!!!

  25. I’d like to give Cathy a try. ARGs are fun. 😀

  26. I really enjoyed the first book of the Cathy Trilogy, and was always disappointed that I never found the time to go through the other two. It was a really compelling work, and the level of immersion provided by the transmedia format really drew me in. When I was done, I passed the book on to my younger sister, who had never been able to understand my interest in ARGs. She loved it! The two of us don’t have a lot in common anymore, and it was really great to be able to share this book, this experience with her.

  27. The Cathy books were a really refreshing read for me, thanks in no small part to the transmedia format. Not only did it enrich the story, but made me feel more connected to the characters. The pouch of artifacts in the cover is also a great touch.

  28. I didn’t really enjoy the cathy trilogy and thats why i miss spelled her name cause i don’t like it nothin but i thought it was creepy how you can call her.

  29. As a long time e-book reader, I’m glad to see something like Cathy’s Book come out for the iPhone and am interested in reading it as I have heard good things about the author.

    As for the video preview, I felt it did a good job of showing off the highlights of the app, particularly the interactive additions.

  30. Why did you enjoy the Cathy trilogy, or why do you want to read it?

    Cathy’s Book was great because it made you feel like you were in the situation with her. The tangible items in the sleeve (came with the book) connected my imagination with the “reality” of the situation. Also, the casual tone, and doodlings made it feel sincere.

    I love the idea of the Ipod Touch capitalizing on the hyperlink capabilities. This is what separates books from e-readers! I’m sure it works great with this story, and it might work even better with books like Skeleton Creek or 39 Clues that have a strong web presence. It means no shifting from book to computer. It is one seamless, immersive experience.

  31. I’ve only read the first book “Cathy’s Book” (and own two copies), but my favorite thing about it is the interactivity. The idea that you can read it simply as a book is great, but that depending on how much you want to put into it, there’s a lot of extra content to be had, is amazing. As a fan of ARGs for a longtime, but as a father of two, I haven’t been able to play much of anything lately, but this has a timeless, go-at-your-own-pace quality that really appeals to me.

    As far as the promo video? I’m simply excited that it will be even easier to delve into the online content, and play with things (without having to open a pouch and “ruin” my stuff with my grubby hands.) due to the connectivity of the application structure. It’s a perfect companion to this type of content. Love it!

  32. My wife really enjoyed the Griffin and Sabine books for their interesting way of bringing you into the story. I found them to be a bit sappy but as a form of unique media, they clearly were engaging.

    Cathy’s Book takes that experience to the next level. I am really looking forward to experiencing it.

  33. I’m a big fan of the newest forms of storytelling that are emerging and bought the first Cathy’s book app to see how well they revisioned the paper book. My favorite part of the video/app is the integration of the iphone’s phone functionality right in the app. It’s the perfect platform for this type of story.

  34. I’d have to say the integration shown in the phone app is pretty exciting. It will be neat to see how that interaction works when the mobile web grows beyond it’s app phase

  35. My two favorite parts of the video are
    #1 It showed my how to use the thing.
    #2 Thats Cathy’s Book is interactive.

  36. Never heard about “Cathy’s Book” until now. Watched the short video – looks intriguing, will be adding it to my apps list. Liked the fact that the app uses real phone to contact characters. I wonder how long each experience lasts?

  37. “Why did you enjoy the Cathy trilogy, or why do you want to read it?”
    I’d like to read it for general ARG interest, but also to see how this project engages teen/young adult stories.

    “What was your favorite part of the video preview of the Cathy’s Book app linked above?”
    Ready access to a large, multimedia, and apparently deep archive of story materials.

  38. Why did you enjoy the Cathy trilogy, or why do you want to read it?

    I haven’t read the Cathy triology, but now I learned it has a fresh transmedia extension to the original story, and then it’s a definite must! I want to fully explore the story and interactive world of Cathy and experience the immersion within the traditional reading as well as on the move with my IPhone in my hand.
    This is truly the new way of engaging readers – to extend the fiction into reality and to let the story be a trigger in my everyday life, wherever I go.

  39. Why did you enjoy the Cathy trilogy, or why do you want to read it?

    I was a fan of Sean Stewart from back in 2001 when he helped to create The Beast and bought the book to support him and his fine work. I still have to buy Cathy’s Ring to complete the trilogy!

  40. Why did you enjoy the Cathy trilogy, or why do you want to read it?

    The best part about the Cathy trilogy was that handing it to my fiancée (now my wife) got her into ARGs. I don’t know if I should tell her about the iPhone app because between that and Bejeweled Blitz, I’d never get it back!

  41. The best thing about Cathy’s trilogy is the immersion into the story with all the interaction. Which is why I love ARGs. When there is a good story, strong characterization, and a personal touch, the ARG sucks me into another world. I love the escape.

    And while I have an autographed copy of the first book, I need to see you guys again to get signatures on the others.


  42. What was your favorite part of the video preview of the Cathy’s Book app linked above?

    Wow, that looked like quite the interactive read!!! I LOVE puzzles, and I love being able to dive deeper into the story, calling Cathy and other characters!!! The app looks very well put together; fun and easy to use!!
    Nice Job! -DH

  43. What was your favorite part of the video preview of the Cathy’s Book app linked above?

    I love the idea that you have a story, but instead of just being confined to text or video or animation, it utilizes all three and more. It’s a version of storytelling that would have been impossible even 8 years ago that we can now hold in our palms.

    It’s a great time to be alive!

  44. Cathy’s Book was one of the texts which inspired me to start designing ARGs with my class of 10 and 11 year olds. I enjoyed the book and can’t wait to explore the app!

  45. I would love to read these books because I LOVE ARGs, but have never had the money to pick up this trilogy.

    My favorite part of the video is the fact that this app is completely interactive, I love that.

    Hope I win!


  46. I have to admit that I haven’t read the trilogy yet, but I would like to. I also have to say that I don’t own any iPod products. I however do enjoy participating in these ARG’s. I haven’t won anything in them yet, but I will continue to try! They are a lot of fun, and a bit addictive! This story looks like it would be a lot of fun as well as a challenge. Thanks!

  47. The Cathy trilogy was fun to read because it not only introduced a financially viable model for cross-media experiences and interactive fiction, but was also innovative purely as a work of fiction. It reminded me of “House of Leaves” by forcing players to do their own investigation into information provided with the book to fully understand the plot.

  48. Phillip Ten Eyck

    February 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    why do you want to read it?

    I love the idea of an interactive story with extras and the idea of the book’s world being real. I’m a big fan of good books and args and this combines both. It sounds like a great mystery and the fact that you have more than just words to follow in the story makes it a lot more interesting.

  49. I have never read the Cathy trilogy, but after watching the demonstration in the video preview, I really want to. My favorite part of the preview was that not only can you actually call the characters from the story (like in an ARG) but the story itself seems to come alive with all of the extras that have been added in, like the drawings and clues. I think this is just a hint of what we can expect in the future of interactive fiction!

  50. As the first book is downloading on my phone right now, I’m sitting thinking about how I can’t wait to try this out. It seems to be the first ARG on the iPhone of it’s kind incorporating phone and web, making it totally self sufficient. I love how the commercial totally looks and feels like an Apple commercial. This makes it feel more natural and buy-able(?). Also the music is totally rad.

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