Tag Archives: books

Reading Together, Reading for Pleasure

Booktime LogoMore time is spent reading with children but parents are finding modern life tiring and stressful, according to research commissioned by Booktime. The average time spent by parents reading with their child (4  & 5 year olds) is now one hour 26 mins per week, an increase of 10% over 2009. 60% of parents read with children for pleasure on a daily basis.

Tiredness was cited as the main reason for shared reading not being fun, but it was the tiredness of the parents (18%) rather than the child (6%) that was the problem. Getting home from work in time was also a problem, with 30% of dads getting stuck at work.

Regardless, 71% of parents and carers said that reading with their child was always or usually the highlight of the day. 80% of the parents said that reading was associated with fun with 86% of children laughing out loud.

The book is still the main reading device (86%) but other devices such as smartphones, tablets and e-readers are becoming more prevalent. By the time a child is six, nearly a quarter of parents use technology in addition to paper-based books.

In a time of economic doom-and-gloom, this relatively minor story made my day. It costs so little to read to children especially when books are available from libraries or the Booktime programme, yet the benefits to both parents and children are immense. As a father of a 4 year old daughter, I love reading with her, especially at bedtime. It’s just us, with no distractions and we read the story together. If she grows up with a love of reading and learning, I will have done my job as a parent.

Booktime is a national (UK) free books programme for pre-school children that aims to promote the pleasure of reading by encouraging families to have fun reading together. This year, nearly 1.4 million books will be given away in partnership with Pearson.

A New Android Market Coming Soon

Google announced today that they will be rolling out an update to the Android Market for devices running version 2.2 or higher of the OS.  The new version will still contain all of the apps we know and love, but will books and movies.

Google claims that the US version will give users the ability to rent thousands of movies for $1.99 each, however, I found plenty of $3.99 rentals so it may be based on the popularity of the title.  The movies will be available for download or streaming.  The rental period be 30 days, but, once you begin a movie, once you begin watching a rental you will have 24 hours.  It is not only available from your Android device, but also from the web on your computer.  Just head over to the Android Video Market.

To browse Books for purchase you can visit the Android Books Market.  Books listed on the front pager were all $12.99, but older titles will likely be discounted.

If you are already wondering why you aren’t seeing this update on your device, Google has the following to say:

“The new Android Market will be rolling out in the coming weeks to Android 2.2 and higher phones around the world. You don’t need to do anything – the update is automatic on supported phones. If you’re in the U.S., you’ll also be able to download the Videos app, rent movies, and buy books once you receive the new Android Market.”

My first Librivox audiobook chapter recording

Electronic readers have been a hotbed as of late. Audio books are other ways to get the content on the go. Last week Google posted a bunch of open domain books, but did you know that there is also a service that lets you download open domain audio books?

Audiobooks iPhone Application

A couple weeks ago I found out about Librivox.org – a place to go to get audio books in the open domain. For the last few years, volunteers have been reading chapters to these books. I was so impressed with the service, I decided to contribute to the service.

I went to the site, signed up for a chapter, read and submitted it. I chose a book on musical notation by Karl Gehrkins. The chapter was short, but challenging enough – I had to remember how to pronounce those latin words you see all the time in music. After all, Molto Dolce is not just a coffee.

If you have an iPhone, check out the application “Audiobooks”. You will find that there is a book for whatever you want to read. I just got done listening to “How to write and speak correctly”. Hopefully it shows in this article, but I think I will be going back over that book for items I may have missed.

No Kindle Required — iPhone App Review

iphone-kindleI’ve had my first generation Kindle for a year and a half and I drooled when the second generation Kindle came out. I drooled again when the Kindle DX was announced earlier this year.

I tried using my Kindle to replace my daily newspaper but found the experience wasn’t up to the task. I got use to reading my news online but the serial viewing on the Kindle left me feeling that I was missing something. I do use my Kindle for reading books and have purchased a few reference books that allow me to use the Kindle’s search feature. Typically Kindle books are cheaper than their print cousins and most cost $9.99, but I didn’t think I used it enough to justify another $350 gadget when what I had, served my purpose.

When Apple announced the new iPhone 3GS and 3.0 firmware, I heard about the Kindle application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. I downloaded this free app and was impressed. It now feels like I have a new Kindle — on a device I already own.

When I installed the application on my iPod Touch and entered my Amazon account information, it showed me that I had a number of Archived Items. These were books that I had purchased and downloaded on my Kindle. I could then download a copy for reading on my iPod Touch. The cool thing was it opened up to the last page that I was reading on the Kindle. It turns out that this goes both ways. If I’m reading a book on the Touch and switch to my Kindle, it opens up to last page read on the Touch.

So how was the reading experience on the iPod Touch? Even though the screen is much smaller, I thought it was a great experience. The pages show up in portrait or landscape (depending on how you’re holding the device) and the menu and controls disappear after a few seconds. You navigate the pages by touching (or swiping) the screen. Touching the right side of the screen moves you forward and touching the left side moves you back. Page turns are very fast (faster than on the Kindle) and you access the menu by touching the center of the screen.  Bringing up the menu gives you access to changing the text size and color, setting/accessing bookmarks, and going back to the Home screen.  The Home screen allows you to select a new book, download one of your archived books, or search the Kindle store for another book.

One nice surprise came when I downloaded a photography book I had been reading on the Kindle. To save power the Kindle screen only shows shades of gray and the photography book was mainly text with a few photos thrown in. These photos showed up in color on my iPod Touch.

One of the best things (and a smart move by Amazon) is you don’t need to own a Kindle to read Kindle books on your iPhone/Touch. You can download the program for free from the iTunes Store and set up an Amazon account (if you ever ordered anything on Amazon.com, you already have an account). You can then download and review the first chapter of books from the Kindle store and purchase books right from the device.

I can’t say that having access to my Kindle books on my iPod Touch is going to keep me from getting a new Kindle someday because I’m find myself using my Kindle more these days. It’s a nice feeling knowing I can have my books with me even when I leave my Kindle at home. Like I said before, a very smart move Amazon!

73’s, Tom

Google Becomes a Library. Digitizing the World’s Books?

Google Becomes a Library. Digitizing the World’s Books?
Google, Inc., flush from a solid IPO, is serving five of the leading libraries by offering to pick up the tab for scanning the hallowed collections and making the resulting texts available online, in many cases, at no charge to the reader. The new project, Google Print, offers an entirely new way of conducting library research.

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