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.

Social Media and Black Friday Deals

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I sat down to do a book-related post, but I couldn’t think of any good Thanksgiving ones to review. However, I do recommend A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn if you are looking for a U.S.-themed book to read.

Instead of writing about books, I decided to do a social media post about how retailers are using social media to promote “Black Friday” deals. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and the official “start” of the Christmas shopping season for many. Retailers will often open extremely early in the morning (I’ve seen ads for places opening as early as 2 or 3 a.m.) and offer bargains. Although it is often called the busiest retail shopping day of the year, that is not always the case. In terms of sale volume, the Saturday before Christmas is traditionally busier.

Many retailers will offer Black Friday deals to those who “like” or “follow” them on Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare.

To find deals, follow @blackfriday on Twitter and check out the #blackfriday hashtag. News and updates can be found at black-friday.net.

Here are a few of the deals that I found:

Target—There’s a $25 Target Gift Card Giveaway open. Click on their Facebook or Twitter link to see the contest rules. Check out Target’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Sports Authority—Sports Authority has a contest with 20 $500 gift cards available. To enter, check in via Foursquare to Sports Authority in-store during certain hours on Black Friday and tweet your check-in.

Sears—Sears promises to “unlock great deals” for those who “like” them on Facebook. Check out Sears’ Facebook page here.

Coca-Cola—If you are in one of 10 Simon Malls across the country, download the free SCVNGR app for your iPhone or Android. You can try to accumulate enough points to get rewards such as an American Express gift card and/or Coca-Cola merchandise.

Like I said, these are just a few deals to be found, and some of the ones that incorporated social media. Check your local newspaper or black-friday.net for more!

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Are you shopping on Black Friday? Do you know any retailers who are incorporating social media into their promotions? Let me know in the comments below!

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.

A Block of Books

Last weekend, my parents visited from Orange County, California.

Since they have already seen the highlights of Eugene, we went up to Portland. Why Portland? To go to Powell’s of course!

If you don’t know what Powell’s is, it’s a bookstore that takes up an entire city block. Amazing, right?

Since I had never been to a store this cool before (seriously, I thought that the two-story Barnes and Noble at Irvine Spectrum was the best thing ever), I wandered around the building first. It is divided into rooms–for example mysteries and science fiction is in the gold room, children’s books are in the rose room, etc… Since I read books from almost every genre, I explored them all.

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Here is a photo that I took from the blue room. Sorry for the poor quality–I had to use the camera on my phone.

I ended up with only five books, but I could have bought more! Now I just need to find the time to read them.

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What is your favorite bookstore? Have you been to Powell’s? Let me know in the comments.