Round up #95: B&N gives YA books with NOOKs, Donald Sobol dies

Round up #95: B&N gives YA books with NOOKs, Donald Sobol dies

Author of Encyclopedia Brown dies

Reading is complicated.

Imagine that you had no idea how to read, and had to start from scratch.

Here’s a letter. This letter can represent various sounds.

The letter combines with other letters to make words.

No, this word doesn’t sound like the individual letters…but if it didn’t have all those letters in that order, it wouldn’t be that word.

Those words combine with other words. The word may not mean the same thing when it’s next to that word that it does when it is next to that other word.

Those groups of words eventually combine into sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and books.

That’s just the beginning.

The sentences, paragraphs, chapters and books have both logical meaning and emotional meaning.

With all that work, why even get started?

Reading is fun.

Reading makes you feel good.

Reading improves you.

Learning to read is like building a rocket ship, a time machine, and a mind-reading device all at once.

That doesn’t make it easy, though.

To become a lifelong reader, you need to read something that entertains you, that shows you positive things, and that is at a level where you can enjoy reading it.

Donald J. Sobel’s Encyclopedia Brown books are just that experience for many young readers.

They are short mysteries. As a kid, you can empathize with the “boy detective”, and admire how he is often smarter than the adults. The stories are similar to each other, making them familiar…but they stand alone. You don’t have to worry about which one to read first.

When I was a bookstore manager, you could see a kid joyfully picking up another Encyclopedia Brown book to buy, sometimes with carefully saved allowance money.

After nearly fifty years of making readers out of the world’s children, Donald J. Sobol has passed on at the age of 87.

New York Times article

If you want to read Encyclopedia Brown (or give one to a child to read), you can (but don’t have to) start with the first one on your Kindle:

Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective

or, if you want to make sure it’s new, you can pre-order the 28th book in the series (Sobol was still writing this year), due to be published on October 25th of this year:

Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Soccer Scheme

For other Sobol books, see

Amazon’s Donald J. Sobol page

By the way, if you go there on your computer, you may notice something I’ve recently been seeing at Amazon: “Shopping-Enabled Wikipedia”. You can click or tap that link and go to the Wikipedia article. The connection between Amazon and Wikipedia is an interesting one, with Wikipedia integration on Kindles and now on the Amazon website.

Get four teen e-books free when you buy a NOOK tablet in a Barnes & Noble

While this blog is called “I Love My Kindle”, that doesn’t mean I don’t like other EBRs (E-Book Readers).

Watching the strategies is fascinating.

I would say that Barnes & Noble leans more, in some ways, toward curating and guiding customers, while Amazon leans more towards unbiased quantity.

That may come from B&N’s experience as a brick-and-mortar. I think many people associate bookstores with knowledgeable experts who you advice about what to buy.

Ironically, I don’t think that’s what the Barnes & Noble chain (or Borders, for that matter) was doing really well.

I may be exaggerating this difference, though…Amazon does give you recommendations. However, I do think Amazon is more about giving you choices than giving you advice.

Barnes & Noble is now (through August 5, 2012) giving you  four specific teen e-books when you buy a NOOK tablet in a Barnes & Noble store.

They book the books for you…they aren’t giving you a gift certificate and letting you choose.

Believe it or not, some people like that.

If you are looking to buy a tablet for someone, you might not know which books to pick. If that’s the case, you may be thankful for the expertise of Barnes & Noble in picking the books.

Barnes & Noble Teen deal page

Many, many times, I’ve seen people ask if the Kindle comes with books. I’ve seen people like the idea that some EBRs have come with fifty or a hundred books.

That’s not how I feel about it for me personally. I would have preferred that my Kindle for Amazon didn’t automatically put some public domain classics on my SmartPhone (which it did). Books are a very personal thing to me…I want to pick the ones I have.

I have to admit, though, I wouldn’t have known to pick these ones, although they do seem like popular choices:

  • Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz (text-to-speech access is blocked, so I’m not linking…that would also stop me from buying a tablet under this deal)
  • Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
  • The Enemy by Charlie Higson (TTS access blocked)
  • Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly

It’s an interesting set…I’m not sure that all four books would typically appeal to the same reader, although of course, many readers are eclectic, like me.

One other thing that really caught my eye about this…it’s only when you buy the NOOK tablets, not the NOOK Simple Touch (with or without Glowlight). That could have to do with the cost, and it could have to do with which line needs more of a boost.

They also are requiring that the purchase be made in a store, not on line. B&N appears to still be committed to getting customers into their stores…

Barnes & Noble introduces NOOK for Web

This is huge news, and I got the news release after I started writing this post.

Barnes & Noble is introducing

NOOK for Web

It’s similar to Amazon’s Cloud Reader for the web…but honestly, Barnes & Noble is doing a much better launch.

For one thing, their web reader works in

  • Internet Explorer
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox

Amazon still hasn’t released the Cloud Reader for IE.

For another, they are giving away six books through July 26th. You need to get to the end of the (free) sample to download it to your library.

The books are

You can read these right now online for free, without even signing into an account.

I tested this on my Kindle Fire. It worked fine…better, in fact, than on my netbook in Chrome. On the netbook, I found I had to go to fullscreen mode. With my Fire, no problem.

Yes, I could pinch and spread to increase the text size. There was information about the book (although they used a small italic “i” to indicate it, which made it look like it was to italicize something).

I haven’t had time to get an in-depth sense of the reading experience, but this is an important development, and I think it is going to appeal to a lot of people.

I had predicted a rise of “web books”, and this will definitely help me get a checkmark on that one. 🙂

I don’t see a reason not to get these free books…if you try this out, feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

B&N press release

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

16 Responses to “Round up #95: B&N gives YA books with NOOKs, Donald Sobol dies”

  1. Ana Says:

    Glad to hear Nook for Web works on your Kindle Fire. On mine, the pages constantly flash. Yes, I can read the book but the constant flashing is very annoying. I will just have to wait until the mobile version is ready.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Ana!

      Well, we really shouldn’t have that different an experience. Our networks could affect, as could the other things we have our Kindle Fires, but let’s check a couple of settings.

      I did use the included Silk browser.

      Text size: normal
      Default zoom: medium
      Auto-fit pages: checked
      Load images: checked

      Enable Flash: On demand
      Enable Javascript: checked

      Desktop or mobile view: Optimize for desktop view

      I’m guessing that last one might be it…

    • Ana Says:

      Thank you, Bufo. The problem was the orientation. It works fine in portrait view. I had been holding my Fire in landscape mode.

  2. Pam Says:

    I must be confused on the six book giveaway. If B&N is giving them away, why are the links for Amazon?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Pam!

      You get the books for free from Barnes & Noble by going to that link I gave for their web books:

      You have to get to the end of a sample of a book before you can get it.

      I linked to them on Amazon for a few reasons:

      Amazon gives you a lot more information about a book, typically, than Barnes & Noble.

      People may be interested in the books, even though they don’t want to buy from B&N.

      It’s good for me if people go from my links to Amazon. 🙂

  3. Tom Semple Says:

    I think they announced they were working on this quite awhile ago (maybe over a year ago?). Nook for web does not work too well on my Xoom tablet. In portrait orientation there is quite a bit of empty space at the bottom of the screen. It is unusable in landscape orientation, the text gets larger and spills off the bottom, and there is no way to scroll down to read it. Both Google’s web viewer and Amazon’s Kindle for Web work much better in both orientations.

    Also it is missing offline reading capability of Kindle web reader, which feels almost like a native app, especially the way it integrates with your library.

    But my Nook library has grown by 4 titles.

    • Tom Semple Says:

      Apparently they’ll be working on mobile browser support as well. To me, that means creating a web app with offline reading capability. But we’ll have to see what they come up with.

      I’ve always thought that Kindle competitors should target the Kindle browser (K3/K4/KT) as a reading platform (just as Amazon should make Cloud Reader work well with mobile browsers). Google Books was (is?) almost workable on K3 (and you can use keyboard shortcuts for navigation!) and I think sort of works on KT, though I haven’t tried it recently. I was also able to use IbisReader. The pain point is mostly navigating the login and library pages, which are not mobile optimized. Once you have the book open, it works pretty well.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tom!

        The challenge to me in other retailers trying to leverage the experimental browsers on the RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles) is that there is a lot more friction in that than in reading a book natively on the device. Head to head, why would someone choose to read a web e-book on an RSK rather than read it downloaded? If the battle is head to head on the same titles, that seems tough. Are there enough desirable exclusives at other places? Maybe…

        Now, web e-books on tablets? Absolutely! Now that Amazon and Barnes & Noble are both in the game, it’s definitely a party. 😉 Can’t leave out Google, of course…

  4. A Year of Reading My Own Books Blog Says:

    Hey Bufo! I loved Enc. Brown, thanks for the heads up. A heads up for you – a NYT media decoder blog post about the growing popularity of ebooks at Hope you are having a great summer! Kathy

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Kathy!

      I think kids will continue to love Encyclopedia Brown for some time.

      I saw that story in Flipboard today from Publishers Weekly. 🙂 It’s on my list. I really appreciate the heads up, though! Those are really helpful.

  5. ddlarsen Says:

    For the life of me I can’t figure out how to read Nook books via browser on my Kindle Fire. Do you have to download a reader app? I even tried to download the free books on my desktop via the end of the free samples to no avail. This confounds me.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, ddlarsen!

      No, you don’t need to download anything to read the NOOK for the Web books on a Fire.

      Start by going to the Web tab.

      Search (you can tap the address bar at the top of the screen) for

      nook for web

      You should get a result that says something like

      Tap that.

      Once it loads, you should be ready to go by just tapping a book cover.

      I’ve kept this all pretty straight forward, although there could be some complications (for example, you might use a browser other than Silk).

      If you need more help, let me know.

      I haven’t tried to download one from the end of a sample on a desktop/laptop/netbook yet…

  6. ddlarsen Says:

    Well, I got further since the time I commented last. Now I got a new window that popped up to confirm my purchase, but it won’t respond to my touching the confirm tab. On my desktop, it keeps asking me to sign in with my password but never goes to the window to confirm the order. I guess after I get the confirm button on my Fire to respond it will show me how to access my downloaded books on the nook for web?

  7. ddlarsen Says:

    Well, I still can’t get the confirm box to respond to my touch after purchasing the free nook for web book at the end of the sample. What browser on the Fire did you use to make your purchase? I assume the regular Amazon Kindle browser (Silk?)?

  8. ddlarsen Says:

    Now I see you said I might need to use another browser on the Fire. I think I also have the Maxthon browser. But that one didn’t work, either.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, ddlarsen!

      Give me a bit of time, and I’ll test this for you.

      Reading the sample works fine for me in the standard Kindle Fire Silk browser. I haven’t tried purchasing a book yet. I’ll do that, and get back to you.

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