Archives for posts with tag: stanza

Photo Attribution: Will Clayton

Happy Birthday, BookGlutton! You were but a glimmer in our eye in Fall of 2006. A few months later, when the two of us started working on you full time (Jan 07), we knew we were doing something exciting – after all, who had heard of social reading then? In the last four years we’ve built a lot. We’ve seen the industry change right before our eyes. We were in private beta when the Kindle came out. The iPhone was brand new. We were early.

Looking at things from a startup perspective, early isn’t always positive. In truth, we would have done better to build less and start later – but then we wouldn’t have experimented as much. We spent a lot of time building for laptops, wishing tablets would finally happen. We had to build our own social network from the ground up because Facebook didn’t have an API (and then pivot when it did). And we had very little to base our interface on…so we made most of the user experience up as we went along.

What we built at BookGlutton includes:

BookGlutton grew to become a huge system, and has given us plenty of opportunities to geek out. Our initial plan was clear: we just set out to build a reading system with social features. As we moved through the process we found that, to do this, we needed to build a social network to use it…and then a publisher’s system, a content repository, etc. Not everything we built has been a resounding success, but we have learned about all the different aspects of digital publishing and where it intersects with the web in unique ways. Buy us a beer sometime…we can talk about it for hours!

    Over the years we’ve seen some cool uses of the site:

  • People in Iceland embedding Dracula with BookGlutton’s widget and reading it together.
  • Teachers in Phoenix using BookGlutton to teach English as a Second Language (ESL).
  • Japanese classrooms using it to read Jane Austen.
  • Grandparents forming groups with grandkids and leaving them notes.
  • NYU students logging on at midnight to meet as a class to prepare for class.
  • Authors embedding the BookGlutton widget on their websites and leaving comments inside for their readers.
  • Soldiers using it to read with people back home.

It’s been a good ride. We recently launched a new user-funnel with some social gaming aspects and tight Facebook integration (yes, I should send a newsletter out about it). With ebooks taking off, more people are starting to see things our way. We’re excited to see where that leads us next. Aaron and I have launched a separate endeavor, ReadSocial, which brings what we’ve learned about social reading to other reading systems. BookGlutton still has great things in store…

Thanks to all the people who’ve used and supported BookGlutton over the years!

-Travis
travis at bookglutton dot com

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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!

We’ve finally gotten around to this much-needed and much-requested feature. Now everything you upload privately to your BookGlutton library is available in the Stanza online catalog. We still have some polishing to do on the user interface front for this feature, so excuse the bumpy ride for now, but some improvements are on the way, along with additional personalized features like Shares, Reading History and Notes.

It’s pretty simple. You’ll just need to log in and then refresh the cattalog.Here’s how:

  • In the Stanza “Library” view, select “Online Catalog”, then select the “Books From BookGlutton” feed, then “My Uploads”
  • Log in with your BG credentials. When the page refreshes to the homepage, you’ve done it successfully. Before you can access your feed though, you’ll need to refresh the catalog.
  • To refresh the catalog, usie the back link at the top of the screen, go back as far as you can, to the “Library” view again. It’s important you go ALL THE WAY BACK! Otherwise, you won’t get a catalog refresh.
  • Repeat the initial steps. The catalog should refresh, and now when you select “My Uploads” … voila!