Technology meets Books in a Unique Display: Book Hive

England’s Bristol Central Library is celebrating 400 years of service.
(wow … 400 years! That’s 1613-2013 :shock: Congratulations!)

And so, for the next few months, visitors to the library will be greeted with an amazing animatronic display of books.

It’s called “Book Hive” and it is interactive. There are motion sensors so that a person standing (and moving) in front of the display will cause the books to open and close …. beckoning to be read. (quite clever, I think)

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if you have trouble viewing the video here in this blog, you can click this link to see it directly from the artist’s website: Book Hive

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Another Great Book Search Tool for your Kindle: BookGorilla

Screen shot 2013-05-10 at 3.08.29 PMI’ve mentioned a few wonderful book sites for your Kindle on this blog, such as Freebooksifter and eReaderIQ.

Now I want to add another: BookGorilla

BookGorilla will search everyday for the best bargains tailored just for you.

When you sign up, you will have the opportunity to select categories that interest you. You will receive ONE email a day, with book bargains from all your selected categories. You get to decide how many books you want to appear in your daily email alert… 12? 25? 50? (I chose 50, of course. :) )

You always have the option to adjust your category selection, so you can tweak your choices to get the perfect group of books chosen just for you.

BookGorilla prides itself on not just finding unknown-author books, but finding sales on popular books as well. Here is a quote from the blurb on their website:

We’re as tired as you are of emails stuffed with books by authors we’ve never heard of. Ho hum, who needs them? Here at BookGorilla, we’re talking about bestsellers by authors you know and love, with a few discoveries by emerging authors of real distinction sprinkled in.

Hello? Do we really mean that you can get actual bestsellers for prices ranging from free to $2 or $3?

Absolutely. Here are a few of the well-known authors we have featured recently. We’re talking Grisham, Patterson, Patchett, Evanovich, Conroy, Picoult, Shreve, and Grafton….

If you like to read on your Kindle, you’ll enjoy looking through these bargains each day.

Just go to BookGorilla and sign up… it is free!

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Dumping the Dreaded “Turn off Your Electronic Devices”

photo credit: Rollofunk via photopin cc

photo credit: Rollofunk via photopin cc

I am not a happy flier. I do it because I have to do it to get places. If there was an option, I’d choose it. Any “it”. But usually there is no option, so I have to fly.

It’s not just the flying that puts me off. Just getting to the gate of your plane can be quite the ordeal with new rules about luggage fees, kiosk check-ins, and crazy long security lines.

And then you crush into those airplane seats which were obviously made for a race of beings that are much smaller than the average human. No place for your knees, your elbows squished to your sides and (usually) the seat in front of you reclined so that it practically touches your nose.

Once I’m strapped in place, I want to ‘escape’! I pull out my kindle and jump into a book and do my best to forget about my budding claustrophobia, discomfort and just a touch of terror fear-of-flying.

But, just as I start to lose myself in my book, the doors close, the plane pulls away from the gate, and the announcement comes on “Please power down your electronic devices for take-off.”

No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!!

Take offs and landings are both times that I especially want to forget where I am and be lost in my book. Hurtling down the runway is not my idea of a good time.

Happily, this rule may soon be changed. Hurray!!

The New York Times is reporting that by the end of the year these restrictions may be relaxed.

Apparently, the Federal Aviation Administration set up a committee last year to look at this issue since they have been under increasing pressure to either change this rule or PROVE that it matters. Lots of folks have argued for years that these devices don’t really interfere with the functioning of the plane. And now the FAA has been pushed to the point of “put up or shut up”.

Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, has now introduced legislation to make this happen. “So it’s O.K. to have iPads in the cockpit; it’s O.K. for flight attendants — and they are not in a panic — yet it’s not O.K. for the traveling public,” she said. “A flying copy of ‘War and Peace’ is more dangerous than a Kindle.” After meeting with the chairman of the F.C.C. she said “The idea that in-flight use of electronic devices for things like reading a book poses a threat to the safety of airline passengers is baseless and outdated.”

Even the pilots are using iPads, for goodness sake!

I’ll be flying again in June. The reports say the changes will be announced “by July 31″, so I’ll probably still have to turn off my Kindle for this flight.

But hopefully this will be the last time.

Celebrate Dr Seuss’ Birthday with App Sales

Screen shot 2013-03-01 at 6.01.24 PMMarch 2 is the birthday of Theodor Geisel best known to the world as Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated 44 children’s books. Fox in Socks was a favorite in our house, along with Dr. Seuss’ ABC, Hop on Pop, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

(They really stick with you, don’t they? It’s been 25 years, and I think I can still recite these all by heart :) )

Oceanhouse media has put all their Dr. Seuss book apps on sale for this weekend for 30 – 75% off, and you can find the entire list, here. (Android apps are also on sale. Look in your favorite Android store for Oceanhouse Media, and these apps should be on sale there, as well.)

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World Book Night Givers Notified!

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To my delight, when I opened my emails this morning, I saw the one that I’ve been hoping to see:

“Dear World Book Night friend,

Congratulations! You are a 2013 World Book Night giver!”

Hurray! I’ve been selected as a giver for this year!

World Book Night is an absolutely amazing initiative. Publishers, authors, and a ba-zillion individuals and organizations have come together for this awesome project.

All the ‘givers’ will receive a box of 20 FREE books and then step out into the World on April 23 to share the love of reading and simply give the books away, one by one, person to person.

Tens of thousands of people participate all over the world. You can learn more about it from their website, here, or a previous blog post of mine, here.

I was honored to be part of the program last year and I am thrilled to have the opportunity, again.

I’m hoping that some of my blog readers applied for the program when I posted about it last November, and I have my fingers and toes crossed that you were also selected to be a giver.

It is a wonderful experience, sharing the love of reading.

The generosity, co-ordination and implementation of such a massive initiative is mind boggling.

World Book Night 2013 will be held on April 23.

Find the Free Kindle Books You Want with Free Books Sifter

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 9.06.00 AMA few days ago I confessed that I had far too many books in my Amazon Cloud. It was crowded with dozens of free books that I grabbed over time. I needed to permanently delete books, and I showed you how to do that, here.

But now that I discovered the BEST free book sorter I have ever seen, well, my Cloud is filling up again!

With Free Book Sifter, you have the ability to dig down through the genres that YOU want.

Along with the title of the book, you are also presented with the number of reviews and the number of stars that the book has acquired on Amazon. (remember .. you don’t have to have a Kindle to read Kindle books. There is a wonderful, free, Kindle App for your iPhone and iPad.)

And the sorting goes deep … once you choose a category, you are presented with sub-categories.

A Browsing Bonanza!

Click on a book and you are taken directly to Amazon where you can learn more about it, read the reviews and make your choice.

Just BEWARE … you will probably loose track of time as you frolic in all the free-ness. :)

Have fun with Free Book Sifter

How to Permanently Delete a Kindle Book

You probably know by now that you do not have to keep all of your e-books ON your Kindle or on your device (iPhone, iPad) that uses the Kindle app. You can keep some books on your device and the rest in the Cloud as explained here.

The Cloud is great because it is basically a huge bookshelf just for you (but you don’t have to dust it :) ). It grows and grows as you add books.

But at some point, you are going to sort through the Cloud and say “What the heck am I doing with THAT book?” It happens. Especially since Amazon offers so many free books, you might find yourself regretting a grab or two (or in my case, about twenty).

Here is how you permanently delete a Kindle book:

(the important word here is permanently. If you delete books in this manner, you would have to buy them again if you want to read them.)

Access your Amazon account from your computer.

After you sign in, go to “My Account” and slide down to “Manage My Kindle”

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After you click on “Manage My Kindle”, you will be shown a list of all the Kindle books that you have ever bought. You can do lots of things from this page, but we are going to concentrate on the permanent delete.

Notice off to the right of each book there is a button labeled “Actions”.

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Touch on “Action” next to the book that you would like to permanently delete.

A drop-down menu appears. Note that one of the choices is to “delete from library”.

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“Delete from Library” is the magic button that will permanently delete your book.

Select “delete from library”, and you will get this warning message before you actually do the deleting:

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I’m so glad they put that extra warning message step in the process, because that way you really know for sure exactly what you are doing.

Give the “yes” a tap and the book will disappear from your Cloud bookshelf … forever.

Reminder: World Book Night Deadline

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Several months ago I shared my excitement with you about World Book Night by writing a bubbly post that you can read, here.

For new readers of this blog: World Book Night is an amazing initiative. Many, many, volunteers, publishers, authors and organizations come together to offer a BOX of FREE BOOKS to “givers” who hit the streets at the end of April and distribute the books. They just give them away. Sharing the love of reading.

It is great fun to be a giver, and pass out these books. I know at first glance it seems suspicious to some. But … it is REAL. It is LEGITIMATE. It is AWESOME.

Last year I was selected as a giver. It was an amazing experience.

Once I was notified that I had been chosen, everything followed easily and smoothly.

I was asked where I would like to pick up my books (I selected my local library).

I was given a window of dates to retrieve them. When I went to the library, there was a nice neat box with my name on it, full of 20 new books to give away.

On the designated date I did as instructed and just gave them away.

That’s all there is. Spreading the joy of reading. What a pleasure!!

You can be a giver.

All you have to do is answer a few questions on the website of World Book Night. It costs you nothing, and the benefits are awesome.

The deadline has been extended to January 25. This deadline is coming soon, so hurry hurry!

Just visit the World Book Night Website to learn more and apply to be a giver.

Observing E-Readers in the Wild

photo credit: Bruce Stokes via photopin cc

photo credit: Bruce Stokes via photopin cc

Before heading out on my blogging break, I loaded up my Paperwhite with several books to read.

One of my biggest joys while traveling is the opportunity for lots of reading time. An e-reader is a glorious invention for travel, because you can bring an entire library of books and magazines and yet carry it all in the palm of your hand. Awesome.

Most interesting to me is how common e-readers have become.

I remember not-that-many-years ago when I got my very first Kindle. I never took it out. I kept it at home because whenever I used it in public it caused such a flurry. To whip it out and read with it in public was nearly impossible because people would stop and ask questions or simply want to see it. And since I enjoy sharing :) I wouldn’t get much reading done.

But today! Oh, my. E-readers are everywhere.

Over the last two weeks I found myself in several places where lots of people were reading. Relaxing reading and/or waiting-for-something reading. But basically, rooms full of strangers, reading.

And so I did some very unscientific counting, in a variety of different places. If I saw reading people gathered in clusters, I counted.

E-readers vs paper books.

E-reader here, book there. Book, book, e-reader, e-reader, e-reader.

The winner? E-readers usually outnumbered paper books whenever/wherever I counted. I’d get results like 6 to 4 or 8 to 5 or 3 to 4. Almost half, but usually nudged in favor of the e-reader. Not always, but usually.

Totally unscientific, but certainly interesting. And a big big change from the hiding-the-Kindle days.

Another Podcast Recommendation (for Readers!): Books on the Nightstand

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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I am a big huge fan of podcasts. I am also a huge fan of books. Bring them both together, and, well… I’m happy.

The only thing thing that limits my podcast listening is time. There are so many wonderful choices, that it is tough to narrow them down.

In the past, I have shared some of my favorites, A Way with Words and the Moth for starters. Today I will be suggesting another, a podcast for readers, called Books on the Nightstand.

But before I do, let’s digress a moment to talk about the Podcast App. I had some misgivings when it first appeared, but all is well, now. It is a great app, and I use it every day. Podcast subscriptions update automatically, and I am notified when I have something new to listen to. The timer is absolutely the best thing ever invented. :) All’s good with the Podcast app. No iPhone or iPad is complete without it!

If you are a reader, and you like to read/think about/learn about/chat about books, this podcast is made for you. I have listened to many others, but I keep coming back to Books on the Nightstand.

It is a regular (usually weekly) conversation about books between two folks who are part of the book business (altho they make the point that this podcast is totally separate from their jobs). Ann and Michael chat about their favorites, or about general topics, and every week after a listen I always add more books to my “to read” list.

Their conversation is always interesting and their recommendations are sound. They also maintain a website where you can listen to the podcast, and look over previous episodes.

They have developed a marvelous database on their website of books that they have discussed, with references to the posts and podcasts where they have been mentioned. This is an awesome resource.

And finally, if you get really involved, they organize several gatherings during the year, throughout the country, called “Booktopia”, bringing readers and authors together.

Subscribing to Books on the Nightstand is free in the iTunes store.

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