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Google’s New Added Feature: Searching For eBooks At Your Local Library


Google has rolled out a new feature in Search that allows users to check if an e-book is available to borrow from the local library. When searching for a book, the “Get Book” tab shows a “Borrow ebook” section, which lists public library systems nearby with a link to open the webpage and borrow. If you search for the title of a book, you’ll see one of two things. On desktop search, there’s an additional heading in the detailed results/information card on the right. But on mobile, it’s buried in the Get Book tab. There is some inconsistency with this feature.

Better off visiting your local library’s website not only for ebooks but for print  and the library programs they have to offer.


Apple To Begin Paying Out $400M To Customers

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Three years ago, Apple was found guilty of anticompetitive ebook pricing and price-fixing. The case was in limbo for years as Apple appealed and tried to fight the ruling, but earlier this year the Supreme Court declined to hear the company’s appeal, putting Apple on the hook for $450 million. 

According to the firm, $400 million will be handed out to customers who purchased books from Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. 

Customers will receive $6.93 for every e-book that was a New York Times bestseller and $1.57 for every other ebook. Qualifying ebooks must have been purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 and be from one of the following publishers: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan (Holtzbrinck Publishers), Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster.

Libraries To Visit With Street View


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Literary Rejections That Became Popular

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Books That Are Really Long To Read & Hard To Put Down

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

A thousand pages to describe Scarlett’s three husbands and her struggles during the war.

Margaret Mitchell at the Gone With The Wind movie premiere party in Atlanta. © Bettmann/CORBIS, 1939

Boredom caused 25-year-old Margaret Mitchell to write 63 of the chapters. Mitchell was a journalist for the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine. spending 10 years of her life working on the book, Mitchell didn’t really have much intention of publishing it. When a “friend” heard that she was considering writing a book (though in fact, it had been written), she said something to the effect of, “Imagine, you writing a book!” Annoyed, Mitchell took her massive manuscript to a Macmillan editor the next day. She later regretted the act and sent the editor a telegram saying, “Have changed my mind. Send manuscript back.”

Ralph Thompson, a book reviewer for The New York Times, was quite unimpressed with the book at first, saying “I happen to feel that the book would have been infinitely better had it been edited down to, say, 500 pages-”

At the end, Thompson admitted, “Any kind of first novel of over 1,000 pages is an achievement and for the research that was involved, and for the writing Itself, the author of Gone With the Wind deserves due recognition.”

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

After reading 200 pages of Infinite Jest, Michael Pietsch, Wallace’s editor at Little, Brown,told Wallace’s agent, “I want to do this book more than I want to breathe.”

Pietsch responded to the original 1,600-page manuscript of Infinite Jest with a letter to Wallace saying, “It’s exactly the challenge and adventure I came to book publishing to find.” He also suggested that Wallace make extensive cuts to the book, adding, “I’m still hoping there are ways to make the novel much shorter, not because any one piece of it isn’t wonderful but because the longer it is the more people will find excuses not to read it. On the attached pages I’ve suggested chapters and scenes that maybe can come out without killing the patient.” On Pietsch’s letter, Wallace circled that section and simply put a question mark by it.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Five Volumes —--Read On

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

 Originally published as Voyna i mir in 1865-69. War and Peace is about early 19th-century Russian society, noted for its mastery of realistic detail and variety of psychological analysis, and generally regarded as one of the world’s greatest novels. War and Peace is primarily concerned with the histories of five aristocratic families–particularly the Bezukhovs, the Bolkonskys, and the Rostovs–the members of which are portrayed against a vivid background of Russian social life during the war against Napoleon (1805-14).       Read On 

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

East of Eden, often considered Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel, follows the intricate lives of two families, the Hamiltons, based on Steinbeck’s maternal ancestors, and the Trasks as they settle in California.


Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

The seed of the Rebecca story lay in Daphne du Maurier's jealousy of her husband's first fiancee

The seed of the Rebecca story lay in Daphne du Maurier’s jealousy of her husband’s first fiancee Photo: REX

Libraries & Museums Becoming More Trendy With -The Internet Of Things


Several months ago the Orlando Public library implemented BluuBeam, an Orlando-based service that uses iBeacon technology to send location-triggered information to patrons. Visitors who download the app get an alert about library offers and events. For example, if you’re searching the third floor stacks for a Julia Child cookbook, you’ll receive a message about the library’s Cuisine Corner program that features cooking demos by local chefs.

Last year, Apple launched iBeacon and companies have used iBeacons to sell everything from currency exchange at airports to designer handbags at Macy’s. Some startups are using the technology to help libraries and museums innovate. BluuBeam and Capira Technologies, a New York company that also provides location-based services, are helping libraries develop better experiences for their patrons. Boston-based startup Spotzer has used the technology in museums to reinvent the way people interact with art.

This particular technology really ties together what makes libraries and museums so valuable to the world. They’re an indelible, invaluable physical venue for knowledge. As technology has advanced, it’s changed why people visit libraries and museums. In the wake of the Great Recession, just as many people used libraries for free computer and Internet access as they did to borrow books. Experts at these companies say beacon technology could help these libraries and museums remind people of their importance in the community and showcase the wide range of services and resources they offer. But first, they must convince patrons to download an app that tracks their location.

Spotzer, which launched in early 2014, has worked with the Neue Galerie in New York and the Boston Atheneaum, one of the oldest independent libraries and cultural institutions in the country. After a museum visitor downloads the app, it pulls up information as the person walks up to work of art. It also can learn the person’s preferences to serve a more personalized experience as he or she walks toward another collection. Spotzer can add a new layer of proximity and contextual awareness to their physical space.

Chris Zabaleta, who founded BluuBeam in 2014, says he wanted to build a tool that helped people better engage with libraries. He has signed up 30 libraries for the service, including the Fayetteville Free Library in upstate New York and another in Topeka, Kansas.

BluuBeam’s technology includes beams—lightweight, hockey puck-sized iBeacons—that libraries strategically place in different locations. The Orange County Public Library System has 25 beams throughout three branches. Zabaleta says 30 libraries are using the technology to enhance their current offerings. One library used a beam to trigger an alert of new movie releases for that day. Others have advertised free computer workshops and book sales. The service is completely anonymous and doesn’t collect users’ personal information, though BluuBeam does track how many times a beacon has pushed a message.

Other companies, however, have taken a more personalized approach. Capira Technologies just began a pilot program in early December with two of its 100 library clients. It sends users reminders about overdue books and items available for pick-up as soon as they enter a participating library. Michael Berse, a managing member for Capira Technologies, says the service allows libraries with limited staff resources to provide more customer service.

Another company is considering partnering with nearby businesses, such as restaurants and train stations, so that patrons can get special messages and incentives inside and outside of the library.

Capira Technologies, Spotzer and BluuBeam use varied pricing models—all charging the cultural institutions, not their visitors.

Moss, of the Orange County Public Library System, says some of her staff initially were skeptical about the technology’s potential, but now are enthusiastically experimenting. The library plans to  run a promotion this month to get more people to download the app.



Ereaders vs The Printed Book At Bedtime

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Anne-Marie Chang, associate professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State University, and her colleagues found that when comparing digital readers with the printed word people who use the electronic devices such as an iPad had more disrupted sleep patterns and were more tired the next morning than those who read from traditional books.

Chang, who conducted the study while at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, designed the trial to be as objective as possible. Chang found a marked difference between each participant’s sleep patterns and alertness depending on whether they read from a digital reader or from a book. When they read from an iPad, their evening levels of melatonin failed to drop as much as they should, while they remained at expected levels when they read from a book. That led to a delay in body’s biological signal to go so sleep of about an hour and a half, making the participants more alert and therefore not ready for bed.

And when the scientists looked at their sleep patterns, they found that the differences went even deeper. When the volunteers read from electronic devices, they had shorter REM sleep, the stage in which memories are consolidated and the brain refreshes itself, than when they read from printed books. This occurred even though the volunteers slept for the same amount of time, eight hours, every night.

Moreover,  the effect of those differences in sleep patterns spilled over into the next morning. When they read from digital readers, the participants reported feeling sleepier and were less alert (as measured on standardized testing of alertness) than when they used books. Chang was surprised to see the effects the next day. There was no difference in total sleep duration between the two conditions, but there was a significant amount of REM sleep difference.

Previous studies have indicated that the reason for the disrupted sleep linked to the electronic devices may be due to the type of light they use. It’s in the blue wavelength, and some researchers have connected this light to a disruptions in the melatonin system, similar to those Chang found in the study. The findings hint at why sleep — getting enough, and getting good quality sleep — is becoming more a of challenge and potentially a growing health problem.

Researchers suggest putting tablet down hours before bedtime or read a printed book.

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