Tag Archives: Kobo

E-Readers Are Getting More Social

Here are a few reasons why e-readers are great: they’re portable, can hold hundreds of books in one device, and have wifi and Internet capabilities. Here are a few reasons why some are still hesitant to purchase an e-reader: setting bookmarks can be difficult, as can adding notes and highlights — though they are all still possible, and of course there’s just nothing like reading a real book.

But the e-reader experience may just be getting started. According to the Los Angeles Times, reading is becoming more and more like a social network. It’s called “social reading.” For instance, on the Amazon Kindle, people can post favorite passages to Facebook and Twitter. On Canada’s popular Kobo e-reader, you can see what people are reading, if they’re reading what you are, and join in on their comment string about the book. It not only bookmarks your pages; it keep statistics about your reading habits.

On an app called Subtext, readers can even connect with the author, as Carolyn Kellogg explains.

Built for the iPad and launched less than two months ago, Subtext offers all of the social reading elements with the added bonus of content from authors themselves. “I was very excited about this,” says Amy Stewart, author of “Wicked Plants” and “Wicked Bugs,” an L.A. Times bestseller….Marginal icons show where she added links, video, color images and commentary, including a “Spoiler Alert” warning just to see how the function worked (the determined reader has to tap a second time to see the spoiler). Just like on Facebook, Stewart can respond to reader comments, which also are indicated by icons in the margin.

For some, I imagine social reading could be a bit much. But since we’re social about everything else nowadays, why wouldn’t we be social about more clever habits, like reading? And as the article points out, it’s also the perfect way to enhance reading in a classroom. For those who are not interested in social reading, stick to a good old-fashioned book. But I wouldn’t entirely discount it.

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Borders is a Bust

All sales are final. As of tomorrow, Borders Bookstore is officially a bust. The once-popular chain will begin closing its remaining 400 stores nationwide, not only emptying shelves, but eliminating 11,000 jobs as well.

This comes after months of bankruptcy and failed attempts to sell and resurrect itself. So where did Borders go wrong?

1. The obvious reason; we are entering the digital world of paperless-ness. In fact, we are already in it. As online [book] shopping, e-readers, and tablets become more popular, the desire to buy a physical book is null and void.

2. As this WSJ article explains, other products in the store were beginning to hide the books altogether. As we all know, bookstores aren’t really just bookstores anymore. They’re fully equipped entertainment outlets, selling CDs, DVDs, and magazines. But once you start shielding the core of the store behind other products, the focus becomes unclear, as Matthew Dolan explains in his article:

Customers began to notice what made Borders distinctive was also disappearing. In Store No. 1, there are still books galore. But to reach them, customers must navigate through aisles of toys, stuffed animals, greeting cards, gift bags, compact discs and DVDs.

3. Barnes and Noble is better. I’ve always been a B&N girl myself. It may be the Starbucks cafe in each store. It might be the layout and look of the store. There’s also a good chance it’s the growth the company has seen after taking on the Nook, which is far more popular than Borders’ Kobo. Either way, it’s the number one bookstore nationwide, and Borders just couldn’t top it.

Whatever the reason, it’s sad to see such a staple leave the industry and say goodbye to thousands of employees, as well. What I’m wondering is, is there something Borders could have done to improve and save itself? What do you think?

***Here is another WSJ article that explains more about the financial struggle of Borders.

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