Welcome to iHCPL: The Next Generation. This site was created as the next step in Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies. The original iHCPL program was adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Books, Readers and Beyond: #53 Finding Books Online

Finding a Local Bookstore

There are hundreds of booksellers in Harris County. There are 362 listings for Houston Book Stores in the Houston.com directory. Google returns over 35,000 hits for a search on “bookstores Harris County TX.” You can look for a specialty store, like Murder by the Book, or just find the store that's closest to you.

The larger chains, Barnes & Noble and Borders, have an online search so you can also check the inventory of their stores. If you find what you want in stock, you can request “Store Pickup” or “Reserve in Store” It’s just like the pull-list! The bookseller checks the stock, and sends you an e-mail that the book is ready for pick up. Amazon doesn't have a physical store, but can tell you if an item is in stock to be shipped. Local independent booksellers, such as Brazos Bookstore in Houston and Katy Budget Books also have online search features.

The Best Bargain in Town

Of course, we all know the best place to find books to borrow in Harris County.

Buying Books Online

Most everyone knows about what Jeff Bezos has done and is doing to bookselling, the Internet and reading, but in addition to the largest retailer on the web, Amazon, there are plenty of booksellers online, including the ones mentioned above. Books-A-Million emphasizes bargain books (also known as remainders). Powell's Books is a large independent bookseller in Portland, Oregon. Alibris specializes in out of print books sold by a variety of booksellers, as does AbeBooks, which bills itself as an “online marketplace for books.” It brags that it searches the stock of “110 million new, used, rare, and out-of-print books … from thousands of booksellers around the world.” It was bought by Amazon in December 2008, but still retains its own website, which has information about book collecting and lists in numerical sequence of ISBN numbers – it’s hard to get more exciting than that.

Book Swapping

Economy got you down? Bookcases overflowing at home and your significant other won’t let you even think about storing them on that nice shelf above the stove? Have we got the solution for you! Swap some of your old books for some new ones. Peruse the sites of BookMooch, PaperBack Swap, Swap Tree, and WhatsOnMyBookshelf?

Free eBooks

Still don’t have enough space? Have you looked at your hard drive? Go ahead, click on “My Computer.” How many gigabytes are listed in the Free Space column? Do you have enough for Beowulf in Old English HTML (1.81 MB; 501 KB zipped; 933/376 KB text file also available) at Project Gutenberg? But if dragons, monsters and their mothers aren’t to your tastes, here are some other listings:

Exercise One

Find and report on your blog the three booksellers that are closest to your branch or facility. Do they have an online presence? If they do, please describe it in twenty-five words or less on your blog.

Exercise Two

Search for one of the books you selected in the previous post. Is it available from a bookstore? Which one, and at what price? (In dollars or in other books.) Can you find an eBook or Audio version online? On which site did your find it? (If you can’t find it online, please list in your blog the sites you searched.)

Exercise Three

Download an eBook. Spend at least half an hour reading it. Write about your experience on your blog. How did it compare with reading a traditional print copy? What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of each format?

1 comment:

Helen Oram said...

Going out this weekend? Be sure to stop in on one of the great Friends of Library book sales held each weekend. Books are inexpensive and your support helps the Friends' programs and the libraries - everybody wins! Schedule your trip by finding the locations and dates online at http://www.BookSaleFinder.com