“When Canadian engineer Peter Hudson started BitLit Media two years ago, a big part of the idea was to start an app (now known as Shelfie) that would enable readers to get a heavily discounted or free copy of an e-book by taking a picture of their bookshelf. Hudson built on that premise this fall with the addition of Shelfie Recommendations, a part of the app that Hudson hopes will be an alternative to PWBTAB (people who bought this also bought) recommendations, which have long been used for online book discovery.” (via PW)
“Poor mothers often spend way too much time hunched over a washboard. What if they could use those hours to curl up with their kids and read a book instead? A group of friends at Oxford University plans to find out by developing a combination childhood education and laundry services center, a concept they’ve dubbed a “Libromat.” The five team members have extensive backgrounds in childhood education, and they pooled their talents to apply for the 2015 Hult Prize, a $1 million award for young social entrepreneurs tackling some of the world’s biggest problems.” (via NPR)
“Ever since a university gave me a literature degree certifying that I have read Chaucer in the original Middle English, my taste in books has reverted to very specific, lowbrow stuff. I like murder mysteries, heist books and spy books, preferably from the 1950s through the 1980s. These titles can be hard to find; many of them are out of print, unavailable on Kindle, and their presence in the New York Public Library is hit or miss. But in recent years, my bookshelves have swelled. Old John le Carré and Donald E. Westlake and Lawrence Block titles are easier than ever to find online, along with pretty much every other book published in the last century. They’re all on Amazon, priced incredibly low, and sold by third-party booksellers nobody has ever heard of.” (via NYT)
“A playful picture book about a little girl named Heather and her two happy mommies was a cultural and legal flashpoint 25 years ago, angering conservatives over the morality of same-sex parenting and landing libraries at the center of community battles over placement in the children’s stacks. Today, Heather – of “Heather Has Two Mommies” – has a lot more company in books for young kids about different kinds of families, but hers was out of print and seemed visually dated. That’s why creator Leslea Newman decided on a new version, updating the look of her watershed story with fresh illustrations from a new artist and tweaking the text to streamline.” (via The Associated Press)
Baltimore’s iconic Enoch Pratt Library is getting a 100 million dollar makeover, but where are all of the books going?
“In the great wainscotted conference room on the second floor of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Dr. Carla Hayden, the library’s longtime director, apologizes for her casual dress, declines to be photographed, and launches into a history of her library, which became something of a national icon. The building was completed in 1933 and was designed to look like a department store. This was an innovation on the previous “temple of learning” theme that featured big, sweeping stairways. The Pratt library, by contrast, was all on one level, making it accessible to everyone, and featured wide aisles, broad, open areas, and display windows very much like those found on Howard Street’s best stores.” (via citypaper.com)