Archives for posts with tag: BookGlutton

There’s a new service out there that allows anyone to send in their paper books, whole boxes of them, and get them fully digitized and OCRed, where they can then be accessed in a personal archive in a multitude of digital formats.

Doesn’t this sound great? I’ve got these old Bantam Classic paperbacks–pages yellowed, glue desiccated–and I’d love to send those in and have them forever as files in the cloud, transferrable to any device I want. There’s something inviting about shipping out all that silverfish food and a week later seeing it pop up in the cloud.

The only problem is that this service is not for consumers, it’s for publishers. And it’s not likely that Google will offer it to us, ever. The likely outcome will be that eventually every mouldering tome in our decrepit paper collections will already have been scanned and available — and we’ll have to pay for it again to get it that way. We’ll still have all this decaying paper and not know exactly what to do with it.

If there was any sense in the publishing industry at all, there would be some big publisher or distributor who marketed permanent backups of your paper in the cloud. With all the rights, plates, and digital masters, there would be no laborious unbinding and scanning to cut into profits. And surely there are enough people feeding a $50B sector to ensure a pretty large number of lifetime subscribers. This would be a new, renewable source of revenue for thirsty giants. And unlike the pulping of newly minted titles, this would be some kind of sweet vengeance on the first sale doctrine, as used copies were destroyed and taken off secondhand markets forever.

But the problem with that scenario is that big publishing, when it comes to digital distribution, tries to force the print process and model on it, over and over.

Which is why they’re like the kid on the playground who loses a fight slowly, getting up every time and blindly trying the same moves that got him knocked down. This is despite the fact that they’re outnumbered: Google is punching them in the face while Amazon holds them and Apple gives them a wedgie, and still they don’t seem to learn. How much more milk money will be lost? How much longer do we have watch this happen?

This week Mashable posted an article “Social Experience is the Future of Online Content

What really stands out is the phrase “Content acquisition alone can’t be the final answer.” This is true, and something you’ll hear us saying frequently at BookGlutton. Don’t get me wrong, we spend quite a lot of time in meetings acquiring content for our readers – it’s important to have the right books. But that will never be a major differentiating factor. Publishers want to sell through multiple channels in order to reach the maximum number of users.

For free books this is already obvious. You can download Winnie the Pooh from almost any online reading system or bookstore (it even comes pre-packaged with Apple’s iBookstore). No one seeks out the store that has this specific book. As time goes on no one will be going to a particular store to get Random House books or Penguin Classics just because that’s the only place to get them. Instead they’ll be available almost anywhere, and you’ll be going for the experience. The user interface, the animation, the ability to connect with others and share your thoughts, will be what really matters.

That said, I have to caution: don’t confuse experience with features. In many reading systems, features can be the equivalent of Photoshop filters, cool to play with but only really used on occasion. Many reviewers like to tally up features, as if the program with the most wins (one only needs to look at the success of Apple’s software to see simplicity and alignment with user needs can win out). After all, the ability to make your font purple is nice, but most users are more about utility and connection than customization. I know there are some that may disagree – I have a friend who would read everything in Adobe Jenson Pro if he could (though I often wonder if he would bother to change every application he installs to do so). But in the end the most successful tools in life are ones that fit in with how you live your life. And that’s something we’ve believed in for some time.

At BookGlutton we spend a lot of time thinking about what the future will look like. We’ve been building the current site for a few years now, and have pretty serious ideas about where that future is going. Like all prognosticators, we can’t take into account every surprise, but we’re sure about a few things.

1. The web is the future.
2. Connections to social networks are a significant, serious piece of our lives. They will continue to be important (Ze Frank had a great presentation at Internet Week New York on this point).
3. Books are an enduring way we transfer big ideas. They may become digital, but they’re not going away.

Last week Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, posted this video about what he’d like to see in the future of reading. For users of BookGlutton, many of the points may sound a little familiar (parts of 2, 3, and 5 are alive and well at BookGlutton). Good to know some great minds are in agreement.

You can use BookGlutton by opening Safari and heading to http://www.bookglutton.com.

Great news! BookGlutton has been named a Webby Award Honoree in the Community Category. They tell us out of a whopping 10,000 entries submitted to the 14th Annual Webby Awards, less than 15% are awarded the status of Official Honoree. Entries came from all 50 states and over 60 countries worldwide. It’s a big deal, and we’re humbled by it. Moreover, there are only two book sites listed this year – our partner Goodreads is the only other one we found. Represent!

This isn’t the first time BG has gotten a little Webby Love. In 2008 we were a bona fide finalist in the same Category (Community), against some of the heavyweights that are up there again: Flickr and COLOURlovers. We wrote about it here and here.

What else can we say, except THANK YOU! to our USERS and the folks at the WEBBYS.

Publishers! BookGlutton has a free content management system that reads EPUB, incorporates Onix, and uses the agency model. The BookGlutton Publisher Program lets you:

* -Maintain your publisher profile page
* -Interact directly with your readers and customers
* -Maintain a catalog of your EPUB titles
* -Instantly publish on a per-title basis
* -Control whether your files may be downloaded or not
* -Set your own prices on titles, changing them at any time
* -See real-time sales reports across all titles
* -Receive notifications whenever a title is sold

The basic steps to selling books with us are:

1. After signing up for the Publisher Program, upload a DRM-free EPUB file (for those not using an Onix feed).

2. Set any metadata not contained in the file, including price and cover image. You can set an ISBN to pull in GoodReads reviews, adjust price at any time, flip on download-capability using this menu.

3. Preview and publish the title, from the same menu.

You’ll always have a page that tells you which titles have sold the most, how much you’ve made, and what you’re owed. You can also set different email address to handle sales notifications and follow requests.

You automatically get a Publisher Page: post a logo, use the wall for announcements, manage followers, and show recently added books.

Signing up to become a publisher is easy and can be done at the bottom of any page

We’ve tricked out the BookGlutton content feed for Stanza! Check it out on your iPhone by downloading the Stanza App and going to Online Catalog > Books from BookGlutton.

Drilling down through the catalog to a Book Detail Page shows off the new design. Now you can tell how many times the book has been read on BookGlutton (Opens) and how many people have checked out the Detail Page on BookGlutton.com (Views). We also touched up the design to have more emphasis on cover art.

Scroll down to get detailed information, like a longer description, as well as the option to jump out to the BookGlutton.com mobile site. It opens in Safari, right inside Stanza! If, on the off chance, a publisher hasn’t cleared something for download, you can still access it inside Stanza – it just opens it via the mobile site right here. For most books, Stanza’s built in functionality is the norm, though, and you can download the title, just like you always have.

The new catalog arrangement now has the ability to find books by Publisher, as well as by Catalog. “Catalog?” you ask? Well, yes. The Unbound Reader on BookGlutton.com allows you to import from additional catalogs, so you can now do that here as well. Moreover, the Genres now match what you see on the BookGlutton site.

Finally, don’t forget the Surprise Me link!

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.

Now you can download some files for backup purposes

Downloading is here! Grab a backup of the files you read socially on BookGlutton.com and store them for safe keeping. Most people prefer to read on online, via computer or phone – that’s much easier than dragging a file around. And of course, if you’re looking to talk to anyone about what you’re reading, BookGlutton is the best way to do it. But we get what you’ve been saying: it’s nice to have the option of downloading files. If the Publisher is game, so are we.

ISN’T THIS A STEP BACKWARD?
Not really. Most people are happy to read online and don”t really want to warehouse a file. But to the people who want to own something a little more tangible (well, as tangible as 1’s and 0’s can get), now you can feel like you’ve got things covered.

WHICH FILES CAN BE DOWNLOADED?
Most, but it depends on the publisher. If a publisher says it’s okay, we allow the download. Naturally if the book has a price attached you’ll need to buy it before that download button delivers.

WHAT FORMAT?
EPUB all the way, brother. It’s what we use on the backend, which is why we can flip it on like that.

WHERE ON THE SITE CAN I DO THIS?
Do this on any book detail page, right column; look for the icon that matches the giant one pictured here.

Getting organized for the new year? So are we! Get started by putting together your own COLLECTIONS on BookGlutton. What are COLLECTIONS, you ask? Well, a COLLECTION is a list of books you’ve found on BookGlutton.com.

You’ve already seen COLLECTIONS on the site? Probably. Logging in shows you COLLECTIONS listed in your personal sub-menu. By following that COLLECTIONS link you find your RECENT READS, PURCHASES and FAVORITES (after all, those are lists of books, too). But now you can create and name your own COLLECTIONS, as well. Might I recommend creating a few lists called “Things I Always Meant to Read” or “Stuff My Friends Think Is Awesome” and then adding some books?

Adding something to a COLLECTION is easy, just look for the “Add to COLLECTION” icon on any book detail page. Try it!

For the latest, greatest news about BookGlutton.com check out the December Newsletter. We’ve introduced GIFTING, so you can now buy a book and give it to someone else. You can also learn about FAVORITES and COLLECTIONS.

Read it all HERE.