I’m really excited about LookyBook. LookyBook is a fantastic new site that offers a free way to read entire picture books online, cover to cover. Simply click on the cover of a book you’re interested in reading, and it will open up. Then click on the right page to turn a page forward. You can also click on the left page to turn back a page.
LookyBook is a wonderful way to find new picture books that you might be interested in buying and having a real copy of, and, unlike most (if not all) bookstores online, you can read the entire book, to see whether you like it or not, just as you could in a real bookstore. You can also add books you like to your virtual bookshelf, and go back any time to read them. Other people can also see your bookshelf, and be inspired by your choices, just as you can by others. Registration is free. (Note: When you sign up, if you’re outside the US, you can just input 00000 into the zip code and the registration will work. That’s a blip that they’re working on.) Some of the books are a little hard to read because the type is so small, though that may be different if you have a large screen (I’m using my Tablet PC). This is because publishers were worried about the size affecting sales. I hope they eventually realize that being able to read good books online will only spur sales. I already have a number of new (to me) books that I want to buy, found through LookyBook.
Currently, you can find books to read through clicking on “author or illustrator”, or “subject” on the left panel, or, at the bottom, by looking through the Book Tumbler, which shows a random selection of the books they feature; LookyLikes, which are favorites of the Lookybook staff; Highest Rated Books; and Most Looked At Books. They may, in the future, be adding books by title so you can go through all their listings (I hope they will). New books continue to be added. They currently have over 200 books, and aim to have more than 1,000 books by mid-2008.
LookyBook has some fantastic picture books here, including some of my favorites, such as Another Perfect Day by Ross MacDonald, Un-Brella by Scott E Franson, and Enemy Pie (Reading Rainbow book) by Derek Munsen, illustrated by Tara Calahan King, and some picture books that are really grabbing me, and that I’m considering purchasing so I can pore over them more, such as The Other Side by Istvan Banyai, A Story With Pictures by Barbara Kanninen, illustrated by Lynn Rowe Reed, and I Am I by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick . I could spend hours and hours here. I already have. 🙂
A nice feature is that, when you read a book, if LookyBook has another book by the same author or illustrator, it is listed below, so you can easily find other favorites. Another nice feature is that LookyBook doesn’t just showcase bestsellers–they show “new books, obscure books, and undiscovered gems”, allowing you to find really good books that you might otherwise have missed.
Another really cool thing for bloggers, for site owners, and ultimately for authors and illustrators, is that you can embed a LookyBook title into your blog or site, as I’ve done here. I embedded one of my new favorites, Un-Brella (I love the fantasy, the dreaming, the magic in this book) but I had to take it back out again, because the page wouldn’t fully load. That may be an initial kink that will get worked out; I think it’s a real boon to bloggers and authors and illustrators, and I’m looking froward to it. Granted, the embedded book has small pages, but you can still see the illustrations. So it gives you a taste of the book.
The site is in its final stages of completion (it’s really a preview), so bugs will pop up from time to time. The site officially launches in December. I love this site, and will visit it often.
Looking to find a great picture book? Check out LookyBook.
LookyBook is also a fantastic opportunity for authors, illustrators, and publishers to extend the life of their books and gain new readers. Lookybook is making the program free to publishers for the first year. If I had a picture book published, I would jump at this offer.