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Posts tagged ‘eBooks’

DailyLit: Books By Email and RSS

Who needs an e-book reader? Your smart phone is capable of viewing text, especially if font size isn’t a concern. DailyLit gives us the option to read books either by email or RSS feed. We may start our mornings sorting through inbox emails and e-newsletters, but now we can read the book of our choice.

When you select a title, instead of DailyLit sending you the entire book as one email message, they break it up into bite-sized installments. That way, your inbox isn’t hit with a multi-megabyte attachment when you decide to tackle War and Peace. Installments are around 750 words, or about three pages. A 500+ page novel like Dracula may be divided into 176 installments, but it’s up to you how often to receive each installment. You can also specify a relative length for the installments, like “Normal”, “Longer” or “Longest”, which dictates how many installments you receive at a time.

Every listing is available for free. Their library boasts quite the selection, from about 600 classics to dramas, business related, banned books, self-help and even tours from Wikipedia’s collection. Browse by title, category or author among more than 900 listings. The layout is slick, and it’s easy to spend a few minutes bouncing around different categories.

They launched with public domain and Creative Commons titles, which allowed them to avoid royalty fees. They also work with publishers to release books for free.

The service is compatible anywhere you check email, which means we’re able to carry our novels on our phones. With DailyLit, we can stop making excuses for not having time to read. Imagine that.

Blio: Digital Books as the Author Intended

Current types of ebook reader apps only include the copy wrapped in their own format. They basically separate the text from everything else that makes a book a book. Blio attempts to never remove those missing pieces.

Ebooks from Blio look exactly how you would expect. It’s like a publisher exported their Adobe InDesign file to PDF and saved it to your desktop.

With Blio, you can do things otherwise not available in other text readers. For example, you can highlight or jot notes in the margins just like you would on the printed counterparts. It can also read your book aloud.

We could go either way with this concept. On one hand, you’re viewing the material the way the publisher/author/designer intended. Each graphic element is present, each line break is maintained. Think about the difference between reading an article in a magazine, and then viewing the same article on the magazine’s website. In the web format, presentation components are sacrificed for quicker load times and a coherent user design. In Blio, pages are not forced into a text reader’s template; you are browsing the pages in a format unique and appropriate to the book.

On the other hand, these books forget they’re not on printed paper. Designers lay out books with consideration of left-hand and right-hand margins. On a computer, you don’t have margins. Additionally, the app is not exactly embracing the differences/benefits the way people read on their computers (that’s the point, after all). For an extreme example, it’s like when radio producers were introduced to the video camera for the first time. Some of the earliest films involved people sitting around reading scripts because they had not yet learned to embrace film’s advantages.

Blio Reader is a free app to download. Feel free to try it without any cost.