You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Industry Resources’ category.
Happy New Year!
I have a present for you.
You deserve it, especially if you work in retail or publishing.
Allow me to introduce Reading Trails, a fantastic new site for bibliophiles that allows users to build groups or ‘trails’ of books linked together by any esoteric theme you can come up with. (A few of my favorites: Books I obnoxiously insist on pushing on my friends’ children, books to write home about, and the ever-popular They Made Me Read it and I Still Resent Them.)
It’s a remarkably simple idea. Find a trail that you like, browse through it, and look for books that intersect with another trail, and then keep exploring. See a trail that sparks an idea? Make a trail of your own in response. Share it with friends direct from the site, or add a widget to your blog and show it off.
Like the Visual Thesaurus, and another of my all-time favorite musical sites Pandora, the whole thing is very intuitive, and as the site grows I expect it will become richer and richer with collective creativity. I can imagine all sorts of great uses, like book club suggestions, a repository for essential lists, and just plain fun.
At the moment, many lists have only a handful of books in them, but I know that you—the pixie stix readeratti—can kick some major butt when it comes to making great lists with substantial meat.
The site was launched in November 2008, but with the industry maelstrom many of us have been in, it seems to have flown under the radar so far. Not for much longer I hope.
It’s a great way to kick off a fantastic year of new reading.
Postscript: I know this is going to come up from booksellers, so let me say that I have already been in touch with the site managers about adding a link to IndieBound along with the purchasing links to Amazon and Abebooks. On the plus side, this site also links to libraries, which is awesome, I think.
I love language. I especially love the poetry that comes from chasing words free association style through the pages of a Roget’s unabridged. As someone who makes their living largely through writing, there is no better office companion. With words grouped by meaning rather than alphabet, browsing it often feels like a waking dream or an act of meditation. I even use it in my design work when I am stuck for inspiration.
So, imagine my absolute delight when I discovered that the good folks at Thinkmap have taken my intuitive approach one step further, and created a Visual Thesaurus that in their words “works like your brain, not a paper-bound book. You’ll want to explore just to see what might happen.” Type in any word, and before your eyes blossom the most beautiful, delicate constellations. At the heart is your word, and around it a branching depiction of all of the related words on a snowy white field.
Each related word meaning is depicted by a different color (noun, verb, adjective, or adverb), and its relationship to the original word, be it synonym or antonym, is depicted by a different kind of line. Click an icon in the center, and you can even hear it pronounced. Click on any word in the constellation and a new form magically blooms. Quite aside from its usefulness, it’s really beautiful.
“The whole interface feels almost alive; it reinforces word connections in a direct manner and encourages exploration… overall it’s a rare, rewarding example of a paper-bound process that has been radically rethought from the bits up.” -The Washington Post
Check out a free trial at www.visualthesaurus.com, and while you’re there try your hand at the spelling bee or any of the other fun language games, create your favorite thematic word constellations, and generally join the language geekery. If you love it as much as I do, the $20 annual subscription seems like a small price to pay for something that’s both practical and a whole bunch of fun.
Looking for a good recommendation?
Each year ABC produces a 20 page, full color consumer catalog packed with 240 of our picks for the top children’s books of the year.
The catalog alchemy begins with bookseller recommendations, and then is rounded out with an exhaustive review of critical picks, award winners, and small press gems that sometimes escape attention.
400,000 of this catalog are printed and distributed to consumers through ABC member stores in the fourth quarter, but as a member of the pixie stix faithful, you can print out a low-res version here, as well as a copy of the booklist by publisher.
If you like the list, you’ll *heart* your local independent children’s bookstore even more! Please consider buying these books locally, because investing in a relationship with your local independent children’s bookseller will pay off many times over in great recommendations in the years to come. Find your local independent bookstore at BookSense.
Of course, with nearly 18,000 children’s titles published every year, there are always many more worthy titles than we can include, so as a EXTRA BONUS here’s the pixie stix 2007 fav’s list, which includes the catalog titles and so much more.