Archives for category: BG News

Miss the January Newsletter? Read it HERE. Last month we introduced the mobile site, as well as updated you on recent press happenings, new books and helper videos.


Stand back! We just launched a whole slew of ebooks from Girlebooks on Laura McDonald, owner of Girlebooks, is offering some nicely edited collections of classics as well as a number of originals. Girlebooks aims to make classic and lesser-known works by female writers available to the masses – you can read a ton of them on BookGlutton. So start a group, embed the widget, enjoy the good stuff!

Check out Girlebooks books in our store:

Follow Girlebooks on BookGlutton via their publisher page:

The October Newsletter is now online! Find out about the store, seasonal reads, and shortcuts to help you make your way through the site. Read it here:

Over the last year we’ve released several iterations of our EPUB Converter. At first this was a side project – we updated it when we had a chance (which wasn’t often). But then we noticed something: people used it. Actually, a heck of a lot of people used it. Every day. This was encouraging and we were glad to give something back to the community. After all, getting things into EPUB format wasn’t easy and we wanted to help, not to mention encourage people to upload work to our own online EPUB Reader.

We also noticed something else – people uploaded a million different permutations and got mixed results. So we made a decision to rebuild the EPUB Converter. To give it more guidelines and more documentation. To spend time making sure it worked correctly and that we could support it. This is what we’ve launched today.

Now all you need is your book in .html format and to use our index file. Well, that and to follow a few easy steps.

  1. Start with a folder that contains your book in html format. It can include up to 4 MB of images.
  2. Save each chapter as a separate .html file – not required, but easiest. As you save these .html files make sure their formatting is set to XHTML 1.1 (Dreamweaver > File > Convert > XHTML 1.1). To avoid getting question marks in your files, make sure they’re set to UTF-8 (Dreamweaver > Ctrl + J > Title Encoding).
  3. Download our example file and use that index.html file as a template for your own by copying it into your folder. It includes detailed instructions about how to modify it – put in your own title, author, description and more.
  4. Create the table of contents using the default list in the index file, again following the comments. When you’re done, test the index file in a browser, then zip up the folder and upload.

There are plenty of advanced details on the Converter Page as well, but the above instructions spit out a decent EPUB file. The great thing about this is you don’t need to be a digital book expert or even a developer; if you have the ability to make a webpage you can make an EPUB book. And there are a lot of people that know how to make webpages. Put in good html (following the guidelines above) and you get a good book. Simple.

In addition we’ve built in validation. Developers know validation is important, but in layman’s terms validation gives consistency across epubs, and makes sure people who are building Readers know what to expect.

With your feedback we’ll continue to refine the Converter, so let us know what you think. You can find the Converter here.

The Curator Magazine wrote up a great piece titled An Interstate Book Club. It outlines how two people, one in Illinois, the other in Texas, read together on BookGlutton. This is the kind of interaction we were hoping for – thanks for making our week!

Read it here.

At BookGlutton we’ve got New, some more New, and then some subtle New mixed in. (As you can see we’ve been working hard.) One of the most obvious bits of Newness, and the one we’re most excited about, is the integration of Goodreads Reviews!

Now when you visit a book page you’ll see the top two reviews GoodRead’s users have created for that book, with a link to pop it in a new tab and read more. We’ll also be pulling some Book Descriptions in from the GoodRead’s folks as well, so you’ve got a bigger helping of information served up with each book.

Check out this book page, or this book page, to see our GoodReads integration in action.

Beyond the new GoodReads content, Book Pages themselves have also undergone a redesign. Center stage is a Recent Readers feed that shows who’s recently opened that book (unless you read in private, of course). We’ve tightened the layout up a bit as well – and made the pages wider, to make more room for all the new info.

Happy Reading!

The Internet is pretty big, so from time-to-time we get mentions in far and exotic places: New Zealand, Vietnam, Paris, etc. However, this mention in Poland’s premier paper, the Gazeta Wyborcza, really rocked our world. Maybe it’s because Travis and Aaron both lived in Krakow, Poland for a while. Maybe it’s because Google autotranslates BookGlutton from Polish as the “devourer of books” and we are emboldened. Or maybe it gives us an excuse for a return visit? Our friend, Tom Crestodina, kindly translated the story for us.

Anna Arno for Gazeta Wybocza, July 27 2009

The internet is no longer just for reading news and blogs: there are also free books available. For all those people who like to write notes in margins and discuss lectures, there is now a new internet portal called BookGlutton.

The progenitor of BookGlutton (Polish: pożeracz książek) is California native Travis Alber, the creator of numerous artistic projects on the web, including a cycle of 30 haiku poems about San Francisco illustrated with animations. She came up with the idea for BookGlutton out of her need to share opinions with friends who had moved away. lets users make their own notes in the margins of any page of the book they are reading on the web. The notes can be kept private, but the site also allows users to form groups and exchange opinions, sharing their impressions and clarifying more difficult expressions for each other. Readers of Ulysses explain its allusions to Shakespeare or quotations from Latin to one another; someone elucidates, for example, what exactly “Omphalos” means and just who a “Hyperborean” might be.

The site has already been met with appreciation among teachers. New York University professor Jessamyn Hatcher has opened a BookGlutton group for her students, who, while reading King Lear, chat and prepare themselves for class discussions. A group of middle school students also uses BookGlutton in their advanced summer literature course.

Currently there are about 1,500 free books available at BookGlutton. They include classics of English-language literature including the novels of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, the short stories of Jack London, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books, but there are also romances and thrillers, cookbooks and gardening guides. Users can upload their own virtual libraries, making the portal a fantastic tool for beginning writers, who can submit their own works to be read and exchange opinions about them. BookGlutton is a parter of WordClay, which helps authors self-publish their own works.

Book Glutton can also be added as a plug-in on private pages and you can chat about it between sites. BookGlutton’s books can also be opened on iPods and iPhones.

If you’ve been reading lately you might have noticed something missing…like the control panel at the bottom!

There’s nothing like a little more reading space, is there? If you leave your mouse alone for a while these buttons get the heck out of your way. They slide back up when you move your mouse.

This is even cooler if you use our handy spacebar shortcut (You remember that you can move forward using the handy spacebar key, right?). This newfangled buttonbar fanciness works in Firefox and Safari, so read comfortably, with all the room you crave.

The June Newsletter has been released into the wild. If you’re not a subscriber read it here. We talk about the new feed of annotations outside the Unbound Reader, our Publisher Program, and our new videos in a book. Naturally we also suggest a few things to read. 🙂

BookGlutton June Newsletter

BookGlutton scored a mention in Clive Thompson’s article The Future of Reading in a Digital World, in the June issue of WIRED Magazine. If you’ve got the paper copy it’s on page 50, but you can also read it online. Thanks, WIRED!