My Opinion On: Google eBookstore

Please note that I actually wrote this article a few days ago, so when the store launched, I had to change some things around. As it is more of an opinion piece than anything, I feel that my original post is still valid.

Google eBooks (formally Google Editions), an online bookstore, launched today in the United States.

Google Editions will have a significantly different sales model from most competitors, such as Amazon’s Kindle store or Apple’s iBookStore. Instead of purchasing books through a single online store, Google will let users buy them either from Google or from independent bookstores and then tie them to a Google account, which will enable them to read the books anywhere and on any device they please.

via Google’s Book Store Is Coming Soon [REPORT].

I like the ability to purchase books through several stores and read them anywhere, but what happens if you get locked out of your Google account for some reason?

As much as I love technology, I don’t know if it can replace the physical book for me. I like the way books look on a bookshelf, I like the way they feel, I even like the way they smell. You don’t have to depend on a battery, and it’s easy to share them with friends. If I traveled more, I’d consider reading more books digitally. But for now? I think I’ll sit back and keep an eye on how they’re evolving.

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What do you think about digital books? Are you excited about Google’s eBooks? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Banned Book Week!

Happy Banned Book Week!

As an avid reader and a (hopefully soon-to-be) writer/ editor/ journalist, I totally support freedom of speech. I think that censorship is horrible. And when I hear that a book is frequently banned in schools, it makes me want to read it.

I hope to post several articles this week on my favorite “challenged” books. And now, I challenge you to read as many of these “banned” books as you can. Because if something is that controversial, it’s often worth reading.

To start off the week, I’m giving you the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009 posted from the American Library Association (ALA) website.

Top ten most frequently challenged books of 2009

Out of 460 challenges as reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom
1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality
3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group
4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group
5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

Book Buying Tip: Finding Used Books

Here’s a random fact about me: I like to buy books.

Obviously I like to read (this blog will attest to that), but I also like to have a physical copy of my books. This is probably why I will be the last on the bandwagon to buy a Kindle. At any rate, all of the bookshelves in my room back home are packed with books—to the point where I literally cannot cram another one on them. I took over a couple of shelves on our family bookshelf and have boxes in the garage. I have also donated many of my children’s books to my mom’s classroom (she’s an elementary school teacher).

Here’s another fact: Books are expensive.

I remember when a $20 gift card to Barnes & Noble would buy me 4-5 books. Now I’m lucky if it buys me two.

So how do you save money? Obviously you can borrow from friends or a public library. But if you like to own books, this won’t work. I find that even when I borrow a book, I will end up buying it at some point so I can reread it.

The “Book Buying Tips” series will feature tips on the best ways that I have found to save money when buying books.


Tip 1:  Buy Used

I love used bookstores! One thing I never do is to buy used books online because I am too picky. I don’t want a marked up copy (probably because I will mark up my own copies if I am using it for school or research). While I am not opposed to writing in my  books, I hate buying ones that are already marked up. In Eugene, the Smith Family Bookstore is a lot of fun to look around—and they have a store located right by the University of Oregon campus. Perfect! In Portland, Powell’s Books has a lot of great used books, including many that are out of print. Check out my last blog post to read more about the store.

When I am in Southern California, it’s harder to find great used bookstores. I have found that the best place to buy used books in Southern California is the library. The Huntington Beach Library in particular is great because there is a large space on the top floor of the building devoted to used books.

Other local libraries are good places to buy used books also. Now, the books here are often pretty tattered because they have been sitting on bookshelves; however, my mom has found books for her classroom bookshelf at these sales. The books are usually very inexpensive too—the library near us will sometimes have a sale where you pay for a bag and fill it up with as many books as you can. So check out your local library and see if they have any similar sales/ deals.

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What do you think about used bookstores? Where do you go to find them? Let me know in the comments–I would love to share it with everyone.