Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ controversial memoir that makes Steve look awful is out today

“Small Fry” looks at the final days of Steve’s life and what it was like to grow up around a famous father who could be cold and uncaring at one minute but warm and insightful the next.

Small Fry book cover

Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ wrote a memoir that looks at the final days of her father’s live, describing what it was like to grow up around such a famous technology luminary. The book, titled “Small Fry,” is out today and available to order from iBooks, Amazon and more.... Read the rest of this post here


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New book “Creative Selection” offers an inside account of Apple’s design and creative process during the Golden Age of Steve Jobs

A former Apple engineer tells what it was like to work at the company during its Golden Age of Steve Jobs.

A new. book on Apple and its design process, titled “Creative Selection,” is now available

An interesting new book by former Apple software engineer Ken Kocienda, titled “Creative Selection,” is now available to order through Apple’s Books Store, offering an inside account of Apple’s design and creative process during the Golden Age of Steve Jobs.... Read the rest of this post here


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Amazon’s children’s book subscription ‘Prime Book Box’ opens to all in the U.S.

Amazon today publicly launched a new perk for Prime members with young children, with the broad release of the new subscription-based “Prime Book Box” service. The $22.99 per box offering ships Prime members in the U.S. a curated selection of kids’ books every 1, 2 or 3 months, at up to 35% off the list […]

Amazon today publicly launched a new perk for Prime members with young children, with the broad release of the new subscription-based “Prime Book Box” service. The $22.99 per box offering ships Prime members in the U.S. a curated selection of kids’ books every 1, 2 or 3 months, at up to 35% off the list price, Amazon says. The service was first launched in May, but was only available in an invite-only basis at that time.

Members will receive 2 hardcover books or 4 board books per box, depending on the child’s age.

The books chosen are curated by Amazon editors and include a combination of new releases, classics and “hidden gems,” and are tailored to the reader’s age range of “Baby-2,” “3-5,” “6-8,” or “9-12.” For example, some current selections include Amazing Airplanes, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Malala’s Magic Pencil, and Nevermoor. 

However, parents can log on to the Book Box site and preview their selections before the box ships, then customize the list as they choose. This would make sense for families with an existing book collection – because their child is older, an avid reader, or because they have hand-me-down books from other children.

If they’re new parents just starting their book collection, they may instead opt to just wait for their shipment, and have the books be a surprise.

The Book Box FAQ also noted that Amazon will use members’ recent purchase history on its site to make sure the box doesn’t include any books the customer had already purchased.

“As a mom who’s spent over 20 years reading and reviewing children’s books, the best part of my job is sharing a love of reading with kids and their families,” said Seira Wilson, Senior Editor, Amazon Books, in a statement about the launch. “Over the past few months, it’s been both exciting and rewarding to hear that Prime Book Box is encouraging kids to spend more time reading. Now that Prime Book Box is available to all U.S. Prime members, I hope we can inspire even more children to discover a love of reading that will last a lifetime.”

The Book Box service is another way for Amazon to retain Prime members – especially the valuable memberships from heads of U.S. households, who are likely to spend more on the retailer’s e-commerce site, as they have more people using the Prime membership.

And, as TechCrunch previously noted, the service will also help Amazon to build a reading profile for the family’s younger members, which can help it to improve its recommendations across the board.

It’s worth pointing out, too, that physical book subscription startups aimed at children have tried and failed to make such a service work, in the past. For example, Sproutkin, The Little Book Club, and Zoobean, are no more.

The challenge for some of these startups was bringing the cost down – something Amazon appears to have managed through its existing publisher relationships. But even in the case of those startups that had offered more affordable plans, they simply didn’t have the reach that Amazon does.

The timing for the startups may have been off, as well – they arrived at a time before we had fully embraced the idea of subscriptions for everything. Today, it’s commonplace.

Plus, Amazon also allows members to control the pace of the shipments further – you don’t have to pay monthly, which can help to attract the more budget-minded shoppers.

Book Box is now one of many subscription boxes Amazon offers. Others include Candy Club, beauty and skin care boxes, STEM Club Toys, and Carnivore Club. It also sells a variety of sample boxes to introduce brands to shoppers.

The service is open today for U.S. Prime members.

 

Inky’s book recommendation app helps you find new reads

Amazon acquired social reading service Goodreads five years ago, squelching the life out of the competitive landscape, as minimal as it was. So it’s promising to see a new app appear with the goal of getting more people to move off of Goodreads for social book recommendations. That app is Inky, built by two bookworm friends […]

Amazon acquired social reading service Goodreads five years ago, squelching the life out of the competitive landscape, as minimal as it was. So it’s promising to see a new app appear with the goal of getting more people to move off of Goodreads for social book recommendations. That app is Inky, built by two bookworm friends who wanted a better way to track their reading and find recommendations of what to read next.

The app is very much an indie effort for the time being, and not as polished as a similar app, Reco. However, it works well for those who are looking for a simple way of tracking their “read” list along with their “to read” list, and who want a way to see what other good books people are into right now.

Explains co-founder Simon Bruno, “mobile apps for avid readers just suck. The market leader in social networks for avid readers, Goodreads, is practically synonymous with archaic,” he says.

After asking around about what people actually want in an app for readers, he recruited his friend Mike Salvador to help build it. Both just graduated from college, and have decided to work on Inky full-time.

“No one knows who we are,” Bruno says. “We’re definitely not funded.”

But, he adds, they’re updating the app every few days and getting “little sleep in the process.”

Currently, you can sign up for Inky using Facebook or email, and then you’re presented with some pre-selected users to follow. You can check or uncheck these suggestions as you choose. There aren’t many users on the app at present, beyond around 1,000 early adopters and some Instagram book nerds, the co-founder notes. So you may want to at least seed your network with a few of them.

You can then fill out your two bookshelves  -“read” and “to read” – with books, by searching for titles. Once added, these are presented in a visual format, similar to how Slice Bookshelf looked back in the day before its untimely demise. You can also tap on the books’ covers to read a description, giving you the feeling of picking up a book at the store and reading its jacket.

Unfortunately, the app only presents the new recommendations from those you follow and not their recommendation history in its home feed; but you can visit users’ profiles to check their lists until friends post something new.

The founders say their goal right now is to take in user feedback then build what they hear people want. They aren’t looking to make money off Inky just yet.

“The goal is to partner with publishing houses to help launch new titles, similar to Goodreads’ business model,” says Bruno. “Once we’re confident we have something people absolutely love, we’ll turn our heads towards monetization,” he says.

However, their vision is not to reproduce Goodreads in a more modern format. That is, Inky is not meant to be a catalog of all the books you’ve ever read, but rather a place to for you to show off the books you think should be read. For that reason, the team won’t offer a Goodreads import mechanism. Instead, its focus will be on recommendations.

That may make sense to a point, but there are times you want to read a book and then are unpleasantly disappointed by it. Your negative reaction is just as valuable to your network of book readers as are your recommendations.

As an occasional Goodreads user myself, I can’t see making a full switch to Inky. I miss the “Currently Reading” shelf, the book lists, the discovery features, and of course, the much larger community. But Inky is one to watch as it grows.

Inky is currently available on iOS, but the team says an Android version is the works.

 

 

 

 

New York Public Library begins offering free Insta Novels through Instagram

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is adding free so-called “Insta Novels” to its Instagram account, which feature classic novels and short stories.

NYPL Insta Novels

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is adding so-called Insta Novels to its Instagram account. Featuring classic novels and short stories, the feature is open to anyone, even those who don’t have an NYPL card or live in New York City, according to The Wall Street Journal.... Read the rest of this post here


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Excerpt From Memoir By Steve Jobs’ Daughter Paints New Picture Of Late Apple CEO

Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the daughter Steve Jobs famously denied was his, is releasing a memoir entitled “Small Fry” next month, and as part of a press push for the book, an excerpt is now available for all to read. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie…

Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the daughter Steve Jobs famously denied was his, is releasing a memoir entitled "Small Fry" next month, and as part of a press push for the book, an excerpt is now available for all to read.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]