Thousands of people received new e-readers over the course of the Christmas Season. Kobo, Amazon, Barnes and Noble are the mainstream brands found in North America and most of Europe. No matter what device you have, finding great books goes beyond the bookstore that comes pre-loaded on your reader. Online retailers constantly are pushing you to buy something and not necessarily discover something you may like. Today, we look at some of the great websites out there to aid you in your literary endeavors and look at some cool services that will get you the most out of your e-reader.
GoodReads – This is one of the worlds largest online book club, where users can rate and review books they have read and create their own collections. There are over 18 million members that participate in the culture and over 570 million books are currently on users shelves. Every single month, 11 million books are flagged as “Want to Read,” and every single second 250 are added. There are currently 857,000 book reviews in the system and it becomes fairly easy to discover great new books to read.
AuthorGraph – One of the pitfalls of going digital is not being able to get first editions and having them autographed. Authorgraph is a innovative platform where authors can sign eBooks digitally for both Kindle and most other devices. Over 5,000 authors have listed more than 20,000 books to be made available on the platform and 50,000 digital autographs have been signed. You may not find super famous authors here yet, but is a vibrant community and growing.
Calibre – When it comes to the internt and eBooks, you will often find a ton of free content out there. Not all eBooks work on every e-reader and you will frequently find great books that are incompatible. If you have a Kindle e-Reader, most often you will find books in EPUB, and not AZW, MOBI, PRC or other Amazon friendly formats. Calibre is a free open source program that is easy to install and use. One of the many core features is being able to convert eBooks from one format to another. Found a PDF you want to read? Found a Zip file with 100 free books in it, Calibre is your friend and should be loved.
Chances are your Local Library is Digital – Libraries may not be seeing the foot traffic they used to, with many young adults flocking to tablets and smartphones. Most libraries in Canada and the US are now connected with digital distribution services from Overdrive, 3M, and Baker & Taylor. They allow residents to borrow eBooks for free, directly from the libraries system. Often, they have a more current and wider selection of digital titles, because its cheap and cheerful for them to do it. You will often find audiobooks, videos and music also available to check out. Libraries are trying to stay relevant and your new e-reader will net you a ton of great content.
Specific Interests? There is a website for that – One of the great aspects of the internet are the young communities that have developed to focus on specific books or genres. Pottermore is not just a store where you can buy the digital books but its also a online game where you can play the role of a minor character in the Harry Potter Univerise. It is quite popular and essential to checkout for anyone who grew up reading the books. Wattpad is a site that specializes in long and short fiction, where authors often serialize their works. The site brings a high interactive element to readers influencing an authors work and is one of the top communities out there. Many publishers have started teen sites, to focus on specific niches. One of my favorites is a new site by Penguin, called “Teen Australia.” It has a compelling HTML5 design and has been getting acclaim in the web development world.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.