Tag Archives: eBooks

A Book Club Walks Into a Bar

13 Aug
Book and Wine by QuinnDombrowski

Photo credit to QuinnDombrowski

Have you ever had a moment where you’ve thought, “I’ve found my people?”  That was me, Friday night, at the Booker T. Cleveland Society for the Learned, which might be one of the world’s coolest book clubs.  Meeting monthly in bars, the society’s rules are simple and basically boil down to, you must bring a book and swap that book before the night is out.

The group is pretty self-selecting.  Mainly young professionals.  Dorky enough to want to go to a book club.  Outgoing enough to talk to strangers in bars.  Snobby enough that they will judge your book, and you, by its cover, thank you very much.  So, clearly, I fit right in. Continue reading

eBooks Reporting on You

23 Jul

#360 perhaps you do not need to write all over library books by romana kleeLast week’s On the Medina reported a new angle on ebook technology.  Now, when you’re reading an ebook, it’s taking notes on you.  “Ebooks that Read You” explained about technologies built into ereaders which record our reading habits.

Combining the data of individual readers, publishers now know how long it takes people to read specific books, which parts they get stuck on, and passages they highlight.  Before, these things were all done in relative privacy.  No one knew that I read To Kill a Mockingbird until the pages fell out.  Or that I, admittedly, skipped the Moby Dick chapters about dolphin behavior.  My marginalia was for me and me alone – or for the unfortunate soul who asked to borrow one of my books. Continue reading

An Angel On My Left Side and a Tech Nerd On My Right

18 Jun

Or, I Stole a Book

ebook reading by TheCreativePenn

Photo credit to TheCreativePenn

Oh, the twisty world of the internet, where a few clicks can take you somewhere you never intended to go…

The other day, I learned that Deadlocked, the new Sookie Stackhouse novel, had recently been published.  I love the books in that series, low brow and trashy as they are.  Reading them is the equivalent of having wine and chicken fingers for dinner.  Delicious, comforting, terrible for you, and not something that you’d generally like to advertize about yourself.  They’re a Southern, sexed-up Buffy, with an even greater wink at the audience. Continue reading

Could you break Harry Potter’s spine?

15 May

Wizard of Oz - Dorothy and Apple Tree

Would you destroy your physical book to get an ebook in return?

The other day, I was going on about the triumph of the digital form and how we should all give up or paper.  And then I got an e-mail about 1dollarscanAnd it seemed like the universe going, “Yeah, how do you like them apples?”

1dollarscan is a tech company out of Japan that does just what its name implies – scans and digitizes text, at a rate of $1 per 100 pages.  You send them your books and they scan them and turn them into ebooks, optimized for viewing on the device of your choice.  Sounds pretty great, right?  Continue reading

The Tyranny of Battery Life

15 Dec

Or, Books shouldn’t self-destruct.

Photo credit to Mike Baird.

The other night I was in a race: me vs. my iPad’s battery life.  And I lost.

I’ve recently discovered reading on my iPad. Now that there’s an app that lets you check out library books pretty seamlessly, I’m hooked.  I checked out (is it really checked out when nothing’s physically leaving the library?) a mystery novel on Monday night, and had since spent almost all of my free time reading it.

An iPad only comes with one charger.  And they want about $30 for a second one.  As I am cheap, I only have one – it lives on my desk at work.  So there I am on my couch Thursday night, way after my bedtime but close to the end of a book – clearly it’s a legitimate excuse to stay up late.

Photo credit to RiverRatt3.

And it beeps and tells me that I’ve got 10% battery life remaining, and then only 5.  And snap, the book’s a race.  I can speed read, and with most mysteries I do. (If you don’t spend the time required to write well, I don’t spend the time required to read well – I’m looking at you, James Patterson.)  But this book is different – it is beautiful and wonderfully overwritten, clearly written by an English major.  It has sentence structure that I’ve never seen before and more m dashes than belong in any piece of writing.

Photo credit to theloushe.

It’s a book that deserves the time, but I don’t have it.  (It’s like I’ve just gotten a note: this book will self-destruct in thirty seconds.  So I’m flying through the book, picking out the subject, verb, and object of the sentence and leaving all the other words behind.  But it’s too late – and I run out.  Desperately searching for a charger that I know’s not there, the iPad dies and I’m left without resolution.  Sure they’ve already caught their guy and know who done it, but it’s that final twist, that hallmark of all good mysteries, where the information revealed in the last few pages makes you think about the whole book in a new light.  And I don’t get to read it.  At least not that night.

Books are meant to be immutable.  They’re not meant to self-destruct.  There’s something about reading that’s completely liberating – you enter a new world, and only leave when you choose to.  There’s a conscious act of leaving, that moment when you lift you head, look around, and slowly close the cover.  But suddenly, I was unceremoniously thrown out of the world that I’d been in.  Do not pass Go, do not collect $200; the book you’re reading, the world you’re in, no longer exists.

Photo credit to Gael Martin.

I’m learning to love reading on my iPad.  It’s great the gym; it’s great to be able to carry a library in my purse.  And you’d think that 10 hours of battery life would be great to.  But, I can lose myself in a book for much more than ten hours.  I can lose myself in a book for a weekend, or in a series for days on end.  And yes, that lovely and beautifully-written mystery novel that I was reading: it’s the first in a series.  So, here’s to many more battles with my battery life.  Wish me luck.

Questions of the day:  Do you have an eReader?  Have you been thwarted by the battery life?  Do I just need to suck it up and buy a second charger?


MaggieCakes is a blog about social media, marketing, culture, and what’s new on the internet written by me, Maggie O’Toole.  Every day (that’s such a lie, maybe once or twice a week) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. Find anything interesting in the worlds of tech, culture, or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

Hey Amazon, It’s Called a Library

12 Sep

Or, You can pry my free books from my cold dead fingers

Library by ellen forsyth

Photo credit to ellen forsyth

So, today I’m on LinkedIn and I see this as a “top headline in online media”: Amazon Working on a Netflix for Books.  You know, Amazon’s come up with this revolutionary idea: you can check books out and the return them and then get more books.  It’s gonna be big.  Um, hi, it’s called a library.

Except that actually, it’s a pretty sucky library.  According to Mashable:

“The details about the project are scarce, but it appears that the library would primarily contain older works with restrictions on how many books a user can access each month.”

So, it’s a library with only old books that limits how many I can take out – oh, and it charges me for the privilege?  Doesn’t really sound like a library that I would use, even if it were free.  (Okay, I lied, I’d use it, but I’d complain about it – a lot, probably on this blog.) Continue reading

eBooks by the pool

1 Aug
reads by the sea

reads by the sea, by Joesph Roberts

I spent the last week in Mexico with my family.  (Yes, it is nice having parents that like me enough to take me on vacation with them.)  And, like I do most places, I spent a lot of time observing other people and what they were reading.  On vacation, you can’t creep on people’s bookshelves, but you can surreptitiously walk around the pool to see what everyone else is reading.

Normally, I vacation in Michigan with my extended family.  We all share books, so I’m already familiar with most of what they’re reading by the pool.  (I’m a big fan of bringing bags of books that I’ve read to Christmas and dumping them on the table for people to pick from.  Not the most traditional Christmas presents, I’ll grant you, but no one seems to mind.)

But, this vacation I was in a foreign country with people from all over the world.  I saw people reading books in all kinds of languages.  And, I know that we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, but from ten feet away, I can tell a trashy thriller no matter what the language.  It’s something about the font and the design, oh, and the faces that people make while they read them.  People lean in to trashy thrillers way more that they do into business books. Continue reading

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