Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Facebook About-Face

When old and new media work together to promote literacy, all is well in the world. One such example is the Local Books iPhone app I've swooned over before. Another is the facilitation of reading by Facebook, the very nexus of the modern media trend that threatens to destroy traditional reading.

In December '09, OnlineCollege.org compiled an impressive list of "Awesome Facebook Apps for Serious Bookworms". The oxymoron is plain; but, thus, encouraging! Here are some highlights:

Visual Bookshelf: lets you recommend books and catalogue your own list

aNobii Books: connects you with like-minded readers based on your reading list

Comic Books: provides information on new releases, discussion boards, reviews, and screencasts

Books Geek: publishes your friends' comments about the books you’re reading

World Books: challenges you to read one book from every country

Sell Used Books: a book swap app, with free shipping

Random Reads: lets you search for, recommend and organize books from Random House

Recommend-A-Book: search books by keyword, title, author or ISBN number and recommend them to other users

Collaboration between the print and online publishing worlds is win-win. Rather than fretting over pricing models, statistics over how many eBooks are sold for every hardcover, and battles between independent bookshops and behemoth retailers like Amazon, publishers should be focusing on the simplest ways to mix the best of old (quality content) and new (ease of dissemination and collaboration). Now go make a Shelfari profile.

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