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Old 04-07-2010, 10:13 PM   #1
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Surprising reactions to Kobo's bookshelf view

I showed my dad the Kobo reader today and he was the second person to be very taken by the bookshelf view. It might seem like a silly frill to some, but I am starting to notice that everyone I have showed this to really responds to it. I think the text-only views like on the Kindle really seem more like a computer to people, especially non-techie people. But seeing the actual shelf of books breaks that wall a little. Dad immediately started paging through the screens and commenting on several of the books I had (he noticed 'The Devil in the White City' on there, asked me if I read it yet, and when I said not yet, he said I should and that he thinks I'll really like it). The cover view made the titles seem like *books* to him and not computer files. It brought back fond memories for me of the books we used to share when I was growing up, of that voyeuristic pleasure of beginning my summer breaks at his house with a visit to the bookshelf to check out the new stuff. It was interesting. I hadn't really thought a feature like this was a big deal one way or the other, but it seems to be evoking a response in the people I show it to.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:41 PM   #2
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It's a shame that 90-95% of the eBooks I get don't have "real" covers. And of those, about 25% don't have usable covers at all. Some have "Praise for" pages as the first page. Penguin is the flat-out worst, I've got three books that just have a giant Penguin logo as the cover, and it's not until like the 8th page that you see title and author together. This time last year I was willing to let that crap slide, but... really? Still? Really?

But yes, kudos to Kobo for their efforts in the field. They're head and shoulders above their competitors.
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:24 AM   #3
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Well, not surprising at all. In both my Booken, the cover view feels nicer than only a text list I've seen at other ereaders. And about the covers, I totally agree. That's one of the reasons I edit my books, I put the cover and change metadata.
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:01 AM   #4
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I've found that I have a difficult time finding books I want to read if I can't see the cover. Fictionwise has some pages that are just title/author lists, and unless I recognize either one, I don't get any kind of feel for what kind of book it is. I like looking at the book covers. I can quickly scan the covers and see if anything catches my interest. I've just finished reading a book on my Sony, but I can't decide what to read next. I know everything on there is something I want to read, but without seeing the covers, I can't decide. So then I have to open up Calibre and see the covers and the synopsis before I can decide.

I guess cover art is a lot more important to me than I realized. I would LOVE it if my Sony had a bookshelf view like the Kobo.
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanieB View Post
I've found that I have a difficult time finding books I want to read if I can't see the cover. Fictionwise has some pages that are just title/author lists, and unless I recognize either one, I don't get any kind of feel for what kind of book it is. I like looking at the book covers. I can quickly scan the covers and see if anything catches my interest. I've just finished reading a book on my Sony, but I can't decide what to read next. I know everything on there is something I want to read, but without seeing the covers, I can't decide. So then I have to open up Calibre and see the covers and the synopsis before I can decide.

I guess cover art is a lot more important to me than I realized. I would LOVE it if my Sony had a bookshelf view like the Kobo.
The Sony 600 DOES have a book cover view. There might not be a dividing line drawn to look like a shelf, but the covers are readily visible. You may need to enable this option under settings.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:31 AM   #6
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It would be very interesting to learn whether there's a correlation between people's attitudes on book-cover-view and their learning styles (visual, verbal, auditory, etc.). I suspect that many geeks like us are strongly verbal (that is, learn best from the written word), and that the people who respond better to the cover view are more strongly visual.

Anyone want to do a real user-study? It's probably publishable in an HCI* conference! On the down-side, you'd have to do all the human-subjects paperwork.

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*HCI is Human-Computer Interaction in this context.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:43 AM   #7
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Add me to the list of people that love the cover view. That was one of the things that really attracted me to it, but I already have a reader!! LOL The hubby would lose it on me. You don't need two! hmph LOL

The old addage was wrong - people DO judge a book by it's cover!
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:53 AM   #8
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I think it's safe to say that publishers have come to the conclusion that "pretty covers" attract more attention than interesting titles... witness, the predominance of cover art that has taken over the publishing zeitgeist over the past century (you used to just get titles and authors on a cover, now it's almost unheard-of to get only that). The recent trend of putting thumbnails of covers on book spines is an extension of that idea.

Being able to tie visual cues to memories is proven to be a more effective way to remember items. So it makes sense to have covers and to display them, in order to make it easier for readers to find and remember books. I'm sure it is easier for browsers to find a book that interests them, or a particular book they are looking for, if they can scan visual images instead of lines of text.

Many of the reader apps I have on my smartphone display covers when looking through my collection of books... not just when I open the individual files. I think it's a bit more attractive a way to present books, rather than simple lists, and makes it easier for me to find what I'm looking for.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luqmaninbmore View Post
The Sony 600 DOES have a book cover view. There might not be a dividing line drawn to look like a shelf, but the covers are readily visible. You may need to enable this option under settings.
WOW, you're right!! I had no idea. It's a little slow to load the images, and half my books have a generic "Classics" cover, but otherwise this is great.

I wish electronics still came with user manuals so you could get an idea of all the features available and where to find them. They could have even had it loaded up on the device!
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:48 PM   #10
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Yeah, bookshelf view is a nice perk.

Haven't seen Kobo, but I liked it in iBooks on my girlfriend's iPad.

Frills like that make a lot of difference to me. Interface and visual appeal is a big plus. The page turns in iBooks are great as well. Feels more like reading a real book rather than reading on an electronic screen to me (like on my Kindle).
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:34 PM   #11
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This is why I "shop" in my collection on Calibre, and select the books to put on my kindle. I go to great links to make sure each has a cover - sometimes I have to copy a cover from some web site. I am the furthest thing from a visual learner, but seeing the covers really helps me make quick decisions on which books make the short list. I would love to know the psychology of book cover design. For example the bodice rippers - does anyone really like those covers?
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