I soooo need one of these

Normally I don’t advertise products I’m emailed about – but I have to write about this nifty gadget because I could have sooooo used it last night when I was doing my research. The BookMarker is a pen, postit holder, bookmark and book strap!!

Never lose your place again, and never lose your bookmark! BookMarker™ is super thin, so it fits easily in your book to mark your page WITHOUT breaking your book binding. The design includes a nifty strap that wraps around your book to keep the BookMarker™ in place and keep your book closed… how cool is that?!

I just need it to be a highlighter too and I’m all set. Learn more here.

Librarians as Writers

I contributed to an upcoming book on writing for librarians entitled Writing and Publishing: The Librarian’s Handbook and that book was just featured in American Libraries – complete with a blurb from me (with one great big typo – how did I miss that???) Check it out:

[update] I just checked what I originally submitted because I couldn’t imagine making that kind of mistake – and it turns out that the editors are the ones who messed up what I wrote – originally it said “For me a successful professional writer is one who can make an impact on at least one colleague with their words.” – oh well :( [/update]

Espresso Book Machine

A lot of librarians have been posting a link to this article on the Espresso Book Machine launch in London.

It’s not elegant and it’s not sexy – it looks like a large photocopier – but the Espresso Book Machine is being billed as the biggest change for the literary world since Gutenberg invented the printing press more than 500 years ago and made the mass production of books possible. Launching today at Blackwell’s Charing Cross Road branch in London, the machine prints and binds books on demand in five minutes, while customers wait.

This is a great invention that we’ll probably see in book stores all over soon enough. Basically if a book is out of print you can still get a print version using the Espresso Book Machine! What I’d love to see (and probably never will- cause of copyright) is a book scanner at my local library or bookstore that I can use to make digital copies of books – in particular to make a digital copy of the genealogy book that my in-laws have loaned me with the history of their family!!

BookSwim – Netflix for Books…

I just learned about a new service – BookSwim – that is pretty much Netflix for books (although a bit more expensive to use).

BookSwim is the first online book rental library service lending you paperbacks, hardcovers and now college textbooks Netflix®-style directly to your house, without the need to purchase!

I guess I can see how this would be useful for those who don’t live near a library – but why the heck would I want to pay nearly $20 a month to rent books? I can go to the library and rent books for free.

BookSwim does address the “Why not just go to a library?” question – but not to my satisfaction:

  • Late fees (never with BookSwim)

  • Limited hours (browse BookSwim in your pajamas at 3am if you’d like)
  • Limited selections (can’t find a book on BookSwim.com? Let us know and we’ll buy it!)
  • Long waiting lists for popular titles (we buy plenty of copies to slash your wait time)
  • Location, location, location (what could be closer than your own home?)

* That said, BookSwim is a terrific suppliment for avid library users, as BookSwim encourages members to use the library if/when possible.

Okay, first, I have never accrued $20 in late fees during one month :) — but maybe I’m just an unusual library patron. Second, I can browse my library’s online catalog at 3am in my PJs if I want to. Third, most libraries offer the option to allow patrons to make purchase suggestions – or get titles via inter-library loan. Fourth, okay – this one I agree with – but for $20 I can go out and buy that popular title this month. Fifth, it is nice to have the books delivered to my door – which is why I used to use my library’s mail order service when I was a kid :)

Now, I’m not completely negative about this! The one great thing about this might be the textbooks. For the price it might actually be cheaper to keep a textbook for the term from BookSwim than it would be to buy the textbook – and you would never be able to keep the book from the library that long. If you ask me – this is the audience (college students) that BookSwim should focus on.

Reading Radar

I wrote about the New York Times APIs a while ago, but today I found a new mashup using Amazon and the NY Times Bestseller Lists – Reading Radar.

Last week we reported on the release of another API by The New York Times: the Times Bestseller’s API. Well it didn’t take long for the API to make its way into a neat book recommendation engine called Reading Radar.

I think it’s a great example of how APIs lend to great new displays of data.

Found via ProgrammableWeb.

Pricey Booklover Gift


If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for the book lover in your life (and you have $80) this might be an options for you.

Even with a heavy duty air purifier and regular vacuuming around the apartment, our book collection can be a pain to clean, gathering dust like a Katamari dustball. The books at the top of our bookshelves are especially hard to dust; we have to hold up the canister vac while standing on a step ladder to reach the top tomes. Using one of these book brushes might make clean up a little easier for those of us with a decent book collection…

Via CrunchGear and Apartment Therapy.