Talking Tech Friday – Lookybook

I went browsing around a web 2.0 site that Mike from Phoenix Public Library recommended, and found this really awesome site to share this week: Lookybook!

What is it?

Lookybook is a site dedicated to children’s books.  From the about page: “Lookybook allows you to look at picture books in their entirety—from cover to cover, at your own pace. We know that nothing will replace the magic of reading a book with your child at bedtime, but we aim to replace the overwhelming and frustrating process of finding the right books for parents and their kids.”  They currently have over 300 books, and their collection is growing.

How does it work?

Well, one thing I particularly enjoy is that you don’t have to register to just look at books.  You can browse by author/illustrator or by subject, or do a keyword search.  Once you select a title to look at, you have a reading page with a very good interface, in my opinion.  You can just click on the image to turn the page, and it simulates quite well the experience of holding a book in your hand and reading it, though I’d like to be able to enlarge the image some.  Considering the point of the site is to encourage you to buy the book, though, I can’t really complain.  The image is nice enough to appreciate the art and get the gist of the story.

You do have  to register if you’d like to leave comments, create your own bookshelf, or review books.  Registering requires a moderate amount of information: a username, password, email address, and zip code.  They’d also like you self-identify as a parent, a librarian, a teacher, etc.

I really do like the interface.  I enjoy the way the book is displayed.  I particularly like the sharing options: you can bookmark a book in Facebook, Del.icio.us, Digg, or Stumbleupon.  You can also embed a mini book viewer on another site by copying and pasting the code (for an example of an embedded book, take a look at this post).

Below that information, you can flip between bibliographic data (dimensions, age group, imprint, ISBN), or buying options – it links directly to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or a search box to find your local independent dealer.

Two features I particularly like are the collection of other books by the same author and/or illustrator at the bottom of the page, and the collection of similar books in the right sidebar.

Finally, there is a rating system and comments to evaluate books.

Possible Library Uses

I think this could be a great collection development tool, as well as a useful resource for anyone interested in buying children’s books.  Now, I’m not a children’s librarian, and I didn’t recognize many names browsing through the authors, so their collection is clearly not very comprehensive.  I’d be really interested to hear what some of you experts out there think of the authors and illustrators they’ve included.  Good stuff?  Not?

As a librarian auntie, though, I appreciate the ability to check out books in advance if I wanted to buy a gift for my various nieces and nephews.

In any case, I am impressed by their interface and think it would be a great thing to pirate…I mean, copy…I mean, take inspiration from for our own library services.

Reviews

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~ by Anali on September 19, 2008.