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Thing 35 Books 2 0

Page history last edited by Ann WS 15 years, 2 months ago

Thing 35. Books 2.0

With all the emphasis on online tools for learning and socializing in the library, what has happened to the book? This Thing looks at online sites that encourage reading and interacting books.



We know there has been much debate and worry about when and how people read, the future of the printed book, and our role in libraries in both of those debates. If you work in a public library--or use one--you know that people are still coming in for books and reading. While some say the Internet is making us stupid, other think it is not.


Even as the "book" has started to evolve into handheld devices like Kindle or Sony Reader, we know that there are still strong communities that develop around the love of books and reading. Based the number and type of Book 2.0 tools out there, the desire to read and share is strong among the technology users. The Internet and Web 2.0 have made it easier for readers to connect.


This Thing introduces tools and sites that make reading and books the center of their service.


Organize Your Personal Library

With half a million or more members, sites like LibraryThing, GoodReads, and Shelfari attest to the fact that a lot of people own books and like to organize their collections. These sites let you set up an account to catalog your personal libraries and incorporate social tools so that people can connect around their reading interests. In the original 23 Things On a Stick, many of you joined one or more of these sites and added LibraryThing, Shelfari, or other book widgets to your blogs. Apparently many people have accounts in each of the services, choosing to use each of the sites' different tools or widgets, forums, ways to display your books on your blog, trivia questions, and other tools as needed. Almost all of these collection sites have a mobile version, so you have access from wherever you are. Here are some other library organization sites:

lib.rario.us is a cataloging/social site for books, CDs, DVDs.

bookjetty allows cataloging, tagging, etc. but you can be linked to Amazon to purchase, plus you can search over 300  library catalogs.

ITrackMine is another cataloging site for books and media or any collection (wine, for example) but adds tracking for lending/borrowing and a wishlist.

aNobii is yet another collection management site with wishlist, Amazon browsing, and subscribing to others "shelves."

Booktagger has all of the cataloging/tagging/management. but includes online book clubs, too.


Books On Your Phone

Take a book along in your purse or pocket! These services let you read books on your cell phone.

*BooksinMyPhone formats and packages books so that you can read them on a java enabled phone. Most phones sold today are java enabled. The available books are out-of-copyright or Creative Commons-licensed.

txt2ph requires an Internet-enabled phone. You can download from their book collection or upload your own books. You can also read and discuss the books online.

*DailyLit lets you read entire books in short, customized installments sent to you by email or RSS. You can read on your computer or any mobile device. Has books for free and for purchase. 

*Twitterlit "serves up literary teasers twice daily. At 9:00 AM and 9:00PM Eastern Time I post the first line of a book, without the author's name or book title, but with a link to Amazon so readers can see what book the line is from. Why? Because it's fun!"


Readers' Advisory

These sites help answer the questions, "What do I read next?"

*ReadingTrails  lets you "discover trails of books linked by any possible theme, topic or whim, from guides to bread baking to classics of Brazilian poetry. At trail intersections, wander from trail to trail to find unexpected reading pleasures." 

*BookLamp "matches readers to books through an analysis of writing styles, similar to the way that Pandora.com matches music lovers to new music."

*What Should I Read Next? Enter the title of a book or author you like and get a recommendation for something else you might like.

What's Next? Find the next book in a series.

Which Book? makes recommendations based on your descriptor choices. Borrow link goes to UK libraries.

*BookStumpers lets people ask about books they are trying to find based on vague memories. Other people make suggestions. It costs $2 to post a Stumper, but you can answer and browse others' answers free.

Book Calendar sends a book a day to your email or RSS.


Online Book Communities

Like to discuss books or recommend books to others? Find forums, blogs, and more all around books at these different sites.

*Overbooked is a "web site for ravenous & omnivorous readers. Overbooked provides information about fiction and readable nonfiction"

*Overbooked has a Ning--join the conversation about books.

Readerville has lots of book information, including a discussion forum.

Reader2 lets you put your reading list online and find other books to read.

*BookGlutton and the Unbound Reader offer a new way to read and discuss books online. Watch this video to learn more--it is hard to describe!

BookTalk is an online book group/form.

Bookmarked is Target's (yes, that Target) online book club with tools to organize, schedule meetings, & discuss online.

Living Social is a book organization and discovery tool.


Book Group Resources

Resources and discussion groups for traditional and online book clubs.

LitLovers started as an online course and grown into a public literature community. "The site is about WHAT we read, HOW we read, and how we THINK about our reading."

Reading Group Choices has lots of info to share with your book groups: author interviews, music for book groups, reading guides--not exactly 2.0, but useful.

Reading Group Guides is similar to RGC above, but includes a message forum.

*Booksprouts is a way to start an online reading group.

Two sources for author interviews:

Wired for Books offers Mp3 downloads of interviews of authors.

BooksVideos.tv has video interviews (in case you couldn't tell by the title). "The social media video site offers the back story about the lives, personalities and the inspirations of these engaging writers."

Audio Books

We know you have audio books, downloadable and/or other at your library, but these Web 2.0 services offer something slightly different.

*Librivox aims to record and release all books in the public domain. It relies on a volunteer community to read and record.

Podiobooks distributes serialized audiobooks via RSS, much like a podcast. Listeners can choose to receive the episodes of books via their RSS feed or by listening to episodes by directly downloading episodes from the site. Includes mostly unpublished authors and a lot of science fiction.

Open Culture offers many free bookcasts as well as other recorded material like university courses. 


Book Swaps

Got too many books or need more? These online book exchanges can help.

BookMooch lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want. Works on a point system.

Paperback Swap is more than paperbacks--hardbacks, textbooks, audio books, and more. Credit system.

*SwapTree has an algorithm to match your needs with others offers and vice versa. Includes books, music, games, and movies. SwapTree will even calculate the postage and let you print out a mailing label from your computer.


Not exactly a swap, but interesting nevertheless. "Release" your book into the wild and track its journey via the Internet. Set up an account. Here is Bookcrossing in four easy steps:

  1. Pick one of your books-one you have read or one you haven't read.
  2. Log-in to Bookcrossing and click on "register book" under the "My Shelf" tab. Follow the prompts to register the book and generate a BCID (BookCrossing ID).
  3. Write the BCID (BookCrossing ID) in ink inside the cover. Add a label or write the BookCrossing info. You can add some additional markings, stickers, notes, etc to make the book noticeable, if you wish.
  4. Release the Book.


There is lots more information on how this all works at Bookcrossing.com. See how many books in the wild there are in Minnesota. Start hunting! And release a few of your own.


Book Reviews

Metacritic summarizes the information on the Internet about entertainment, including books. Stopped updating, but still has many reviews available.

The Complete Review offers reviews of old and new books.

*BookBrowse seeks out and recommends only the most interesting and well-written books and provides you with everything you need to decide which are right for you - so you can browse the best and ignore the rest!

One Minute Critic is exactly that; quick reviews of all kinds of books. You can do this!


Children's Books

Here are some innovative ways to share children's books using Web 2.0 tools.

*Lookybook let's you read entire children's picture books online. Register and build your own bookshelf to save and share favorites.

Storyline is part of the Screen Actors' Guild Foundation. Famous people read well-known books. Al Gore reads Brave Irene by William Steig, for example. Warning--opens with sound.

International Children's Digital Library has entire books online to read in multiple languages. Register to save books, choose preferred language, and more.

*Just One More Book "is a thrice-weekly podcast which promotes and celebrates literacy and great children’s books." Recorded in an Ottawa coffee shop.

Tonight's Bedtime Story offers free pdfs of classic fairy tales, many with illustrations. Wallpaper for your computer of various classic illustrations, too.

Vintage Children's Books is a Flickr pool of scanned images. Over 2500 members add to the pool.

Old Children's Books is another Flickr set of mid-century children's book illustrations.

Sillybooks "is an animated world of free reading, writing and learning fun for kids." Illustrated books read aloud and a place for kids to get their stories published.

Book Rental

These services are the "Netflix of books" offering various paid account levels for book borrowing.

BookSwim lends paperbacks, hardcovers and, college textbooks.

BooksFree lends paperbacks and audio books.



Many original 23ers liked Facebook best of all the Things they learned. Now take time to explore some of Facebook's book and reading apps.

Visual Bookshelf

WeRead (Books iRead)

*A list of book-related apps on Facebook


*Recommended to try.



1. Where do you come in on the future of the book and reading? Check out these articles or sites for some food for thought:

2. Explore at least one tool/site from each category in the Learn section. You don't have to go deep into the tool--look at the intro, FAQs, review the features, and try a few out. The starred ones are those we like.

3. Choose at least one of the sites/tools you explored and go deeper--set up an account and get started or go farther into the site.

4. If you already have a Facebook account, explore the book apps and add some to your Facebook page.

5. Try out BookCrossing--let's see if we can release and hunt for books among the More Things Community.



 Blog Prompts

  1. What are you observing in your library about books and reading?
  2. Do you think these Book 2.0 tools hamper or enhance one's reading experience?
  3. Which of the sites/tools did you visit? What are they appealing features? Any features seem unnecessary or just there "because"?
  4. Other thoughts?
  5. Do you know of other tools around books and reading we should know about? You can add them in the Comments below and blog about them.








Comments (6)

46thingslibrn said

at 9:37 am on May 13, 2009

I was sad to see that LookyBook is no longer available. :(

Diane Hopkins said

at 9:23 pm on May 12, 2009

I am looking for a website that rates books. At the HS media center we have $0 in our book budget. We rely solely on donations. I pick up lot of used books and get donations from parents. Sometimes it is kind of tough trying it figure out if the book is appropriate for teenage readers. A lot of them I have read or know the author, thus a little bit about the content. But it would be really nice if there was a website out there that would tell me if a book is rated R or worse yet rated NC-17.

Ann WS said

at 10:16 pm on Apr 23, 2009

Here's another book social community. BookArmy http://www.bookarmy.com/defaultnewreader.aspx

Floating Lush said

at 6:34 pm on Mar 24, 2009

Sur la Lune is similar to Tonight's Bedtime Story, but geared for adults. http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/

Andrea said

at 9:08 pm on Mar 22, 2009

The LookyBooky site is no longer active.
Also, I love the Multonomah Public Library book resource section: http://www.multcolib.org/books/

cherylkay said

at 8:39 pm on Feb 27, 2009

Useful websites for mysteries: DorothyL newsgroup, www.dorothyl.com for mystery reviews; www.stopyourekillingme.com for mystery series; the Rapsheet Blog, therapsheet.blogspot.com for everything to do with mysteries; and Noir of the Week, www.noiroftheweek.com.

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