16 July, 2010

Making Paper Books Nearly as Good as eBooks

While I understand the sensual pleasures of holding a real book, smelling the ink in new books or various unidentified scents in old ones, and placing on a real shelf to ornament your house, I think that from a practical perspective eBooks make studying easier in many good ways. You don’t need to wait for them to be returned to the library, or travel there to get hold of them. You don’t need to spend time searching through the book to remember where the quote that you liked was. You just go online, read, and use the search tool to quickly find the section you remember allowing you to focus on the important aspects of studying and learning.

However, many of us still like libraries and paper books and want to get the most out of using them. The good news is that using barcode scanning apps on our Smartphones we can add enhanced functionality to paper books that previously only existed in eBooks. For example ‘Barcode Scanner’ from ZXing Team (which you can find in the Android Marketplace app store) makes it easy search through the text of a book by photographing the barcode on the book in question, and clicking on ‘Book Search’. You are then taken to the Google Books page for the book in question where you use the search feature to search through the text of that book. It’s like having an enhanced index. Or you could just go to the Google Books page directly, but that’s less fun.

I’m sure there are other good pieces of software for the various platforms, which do similar things. Anyone want to share their knowledge and experiences of these?

By the way, to find your way to Google Books for mobile devices, you can use Barcode Scanner to follow the link encoded in this barcode created at Kaywa.

[top image by guldfisken]

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