Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Your Cell Phone Can Call, Text, Take Photos, and … Now … Order Books?

Today’s cell phones can do a thousand things it seems, including now quickly order books. That is, if you order through ShopText. According to Publishers Weekly, “The Manhattan company ShopText, founded in 2005, lets people buy products instantly using SMS (i.e., Short Message Service, or cellphone text message), and has just started selling books.”

It’s actually a little more complicated than that. Here’s the scenario as explained by blogger
DigitalSolid: “You’re paging through a magazine or newspaper, or you encounter an out-of-home ad (even, perhaps, a digital billboard), and you decide you simply must have that product. You type a six-digit short code into your cell phone, send the number a text message with a keyword, and after a verifying second text is received and replied to, your product has been ordered.”

Imagine sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic or on the commuter ride home and you remember you want to order a book you saw in an ad. You don’t have to wait to get to the bookstore or go online to find it, you simply take out your cell phone and send a text message. And, of course, it applies to more than books: music, artwork, all kinds of cool merchandise and impulse buys. It’s even an easy way to donate to charities!

This is just the beginning. My bet is, some day we will even be able to text message the milk and bread for pick up on the way home or -- in the best of all worlds -- pick up on the doorstep as we arrive home!

Where Would the Book Be Without Its Jacket?

Where would the groom be without his tuxedo jacket? Where would the book be without its cover jacket? In the same straights I’m afraid: just a guy with a shirt and tie, just a book with a cover and spine. That’s why jackets are important, both to grooms and books! That’s why a new weblog on Publishers Weekly is worth a read.

Jackets Required, this blog is a weekly column by Fwis, a design group that critiques book jacket design. The articles are short and pithy, but they offer a designer’s perspective on the artistic side of jacket design. If you’ve ever wondered what thought goes into creating a book jacket, this column will give you some interesting insights. And like any good blog, there’s a place for comments, so you can add your two cents or ask your daunting question to people who should have an educated opinion.

Why should you care? Think about how many books you’ve picked up off the display table because of what you saw on the jacket. Think about the ones you didn’t pick up. What made the difference? Maybe Jackets Required will discuss it and you can say, “Yeah, I thought so, too.”

This week’s
Jackets Required column is on the book Loving Frank: A Novel.

One of Fwis’s project websites is called Covers and its tagline reads: “Covers is dedicated to the appreciation of book cover design.” They feature other articles including one on bookshelves that caught my attention. Those are some pretty wicked looking bookshelves! Take a look.