iPad Screenshots


Welcome to the free Secret Life of Books app from The Open University. From the Reception Desk, you can explore the six wings of our library, each inspired by the manuscript they house.

By tapping on your chosen book you will be able to access video content from the TV series as well as additional, unseen footage. You will also be able to analyse original pages of manuscript and discover further background material on each book.

Search for the essence of Shakespeare in the First Folio Library with Simon Russell Beale, and find out what this famous book tells us about how his plays were written.

Let Dr Alice Roberts be your guide in the Frankenstein Cellar, and discover why Mary Shelley might not have been the only person to have had a hand in ‘creating the monster’.

Join Cerys Matthews in the Mabinogion Annex to discover folk tales with the wildest plotlines and most incredible characters and explore the story of who created it.

Visit Great Expectations Corner with Tony Jordan, chief screenwriter with EastEnders for 15 years, to uncover why Charles Dickens gave Pip a happy ending.

Meet Bidisha in the Jane Eyre Study, to delve into a text that may be darker and more disturbing than you’d first thought.

Enter the Mrs Dalloway Reading Room, and discover Virginia Woolf’s journey towards creating her great modernist novel in the company of Alexandra Harris.

So grab your magnifying glass, and let’s get started.

What's New

Version 1.1

Minor text amends

Ratings and Reviews

3.9 out of 5
9 Ratings
9 Ratings

Secret Life of books

I am eager to be able to use this app, but the absence of sound on the video extracts, (about which I have complained repeatedly but with no response) is annoying and detracts from the overall impact of the experience. Does the OU always ignore complaints?


Brilliant and it's free!

Unlike the other reviews my downloaded quickly and it runs perfectly i.e. video has sound, etc. It's really great app and I gave shared it with loads of people. They really liked it. Cerys Matthews input good.


A treasure trove

This app works perfectly for me, sound, videos etc are all beautifully worked out and conspire to beguile. An inspiring app for anyone who loves to be enraptured by fine storytelling in atmospheric chambers of the imagination.


The Open University
524.7 MB
Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.
Age Rating
Rated 4+
© 2014 The Open University


  • Family Sharing

    Up to six family members will be able to use this app with Family Sharing enabled.

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