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All sorts of book-related bits and pieces (affectionately known in Bublos-speak as "book bytes"), can be found lurking here, waiting anxiously to disgorge their many gems of information. So, put on the kettle, pull up a chair and stay a while - we're sure you'll be able to pass many a fascinating moment checking out some of the links we have here.

Books in Braille : Probably most of us take reading the latest bestseller and surfing the web for granted. It's great that we can, but spare just a few clicks for those that are not so lucky. Braille, as most will know, is a writing system for visually impaired or blind people. The system consists of patterns of raised dots that are read by touch - named after Louis Braille who first invented the system in the 19th century. The National Braille Press is a Boston (MA, U.S.) based, nonprofit braille printing and publishing house, at whose site you'll find much more information about Braille books and even a "Children's Braille Book Club."

Other equally interesting Braille sites include, The American Foundation for The Blind, where you can send Braille messages and learn more about Braille, including biographies of Louis Braille and Helen Keller. Meanwhile, for other information you could check out the more official International Braille Research Center. A number of popular Braille edition books, and books about Braille, can also be found by using our regular search box and performing a search for "Braille."

Audio Books and eBooks : The age of technology has affected just about every aspect of our lives in one way or another - not least the printed word. Audio books and eBooks have introduced a whole new methodology for accessing fine literature, with one of the most notable consumer benefits being the reduced cost. While we would never hope to see the day where books were completely replaced by audio tape and computer bytes, they most definitely can fulfil a useful role - and are a great tool for introducing those who might never buy a book to great stories and other literature.

Audio books can typically be listened to on a regular cassette player, a computer or any ordinary CD-player - and are often many times cheaper than their printed equivalents. Most of the bigger online bookstores sell audio books. Your local video store is likely to have a selection of the most popular audio books too. Meanwhile, Audible.com offers the ability to purchase downloadable audio books, newspapers and more, which may be listened to on your computer. Another excellent site for audio books is Recorded Books, where previous deals have included free downloads of the entire Huckleberry Finn audio book.

eBooks are a more recent weapon in literature's ever-growing arsenal. eBooks are a fun way to catch up on your reading list and can be instantly downloaded to your laptop, PC, or eBook reading device. As with browsers, operating systems - and indeed anything else that goes "byte in the night" - there are several different eBook readers (the software with which to read downloaded eBooks). Special handheld devices can be bought to read eBooks too. To our knowledge, all current eBook reading software may be downloaded free of charge. Again, there are a number of sites which sell ebooks, although Barnes & Noble, who previously provided a fabulous range, unfortunately no longer offer them; however, you'll not need to search too hard to find them elsewhere. In fact a good starting point may be the eBooks section at the Simon & Schuster website.

Related is the free Microsoft Reader, which is constantly evolving software that allows you to read e-books on your computer monitor with almost the same clarity as their printed equivalents. The Reader has some great features such as adjustable font size together with handy tools to make notes and to create highlights. A free dictionary which integrates with the Microsoft Reader is also available for download.

You can also read some favorite books on your Pocket PC. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble sell Pocket PC's on which you're able to read certain e-books (a growing selection). The following link at Amazon will display a range of Pocket PC's and e-books. (If you're looking to buy a Pocket PC then Amazon sells them at competitive prices). Although we've previously recommended B & N for e-books, as of September 2003, Barnes & Noble no longer sell e-books.

Native American Authors : Using their own words, "This website provides information on Native North American authors with bibliographies of their published works, biographical information, and links to online resources including interviews, online texts and tribal websites." - We couldn't put it better, and this is a most wonderful resource for those seeking Native American literature and related information.

Free First Chapters : Never let it be said that publishers were afraid of giving something away for nothing - most publishers regularly print extended excerpts and a free chapter or two in the hope that they will sway you to buying the entire thing - and indeed we do! Anyway, probably in the hope that you'll become a regular New York Times Web-site visitor, The New York Times has an enormous selection of free first chapters for you to peruse, both fiction and non-fiction. In fact it's difficult to say enough good things about the Times' Books section - it really is a wonderful resource. And "yes", it's all free.

Take note that some sections of the New York Times may require prior sign-up - which is free, although more recently one appears able to access much of the Books section without signing up.

Getting The Scoop : PublishersWeekly.com is the online version of the International News Magazine for the book publishing and bookselling crowd. PublishersWeekly.com always has lots of useful book industry information and news stories - often much more in depth than many other resources, and is generally well respected for its information. There is a very handy section about children's book releases, together with sneak peeks at forthcoming children's publications - information which you'll be unlikely to find elsewhere.

Simon & Schuster, Publishers : As might be expected, the Simon & Schuster site also has masses of information about their forthcoming publications, author appearances, bestsellers and other "must-have" information for book lovers. A suitable advisory for this site might read "Be prepared to stay at length" - this is a great site.

Bookstores : We have a healthy, regularly updated list of bookstores on our bookstores page - these include bookstores from all over, but particularly (for the time being) from the U.S. However, our list is not exhaustive, and a useful selection of selected U.K. bookstores and resources can be found on a well maintained list at The World Wide Web Virtual Library.

Top 150 Best-selling Books List : A quick browse of the Bublos site will swiftly reveal that we're quite partial to best-sellers lists, reviews and the like ourselves. But if you really must know last week's top 150 best-selling books (togther with reviews for many of them), then the USA TODAY Top 150 list is more than equal to the task.

Helping Your Child Learn to Read : Few would argue that reading is not one of the most important skills that a child can learn - a skill that will directly affect their opportunities for years to come - if not for life. With that in mind then the U.S. Department of Education has some great information on exactly how to go about ensuring that your child is able to read properly, and answers many questions that interested parents may have. If, like us, you believe that educating your child to read is important, then we think you'll find this link a useful one.

Get Your Novel Published : It's said we all have at least one book in us (a metaphorical expression we hope!), and iUniverse.com is ready and waiting for your manuscript. If being a published author appeals to you then this is certainly worth checking out. iUniverse.com is considered a leader in digital publishing, and you can often see their leaflets in Barnes and Noble bookstores. The popular Powells online bookstore also has an association with iUniverse, so you can be sure this is a reputable company. If you pay a visit then be sure to read the iUniverse Success Stories page, which is certain to provide additional inspiration should you need it.

Oprah's Book Club : More than just a popular chat show host, Oprah's Book Club has made an incredible impact on bringing fiction to the masses. Read by Oprah and picked by her, books which are fortunate enough to achieve the dizzying heights of being selected are inevitable best-sellers. But more to the point, selected books are chosen not for any commercial considerations - but for the simple fact that these really are excellent reads. Previously listed books include Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - you can see all of the previous selections at Oprah's Book Club Web-site, together with the most recently listed books.

Words and Things : Maybe one of the secrets to having more time to do the things you want is to avoid falling prey to the plethora of addictive little word games that infest the Web - but they are fun aren't they! Thus we cannot help but mention at least a few of them here. Firstly, Merriam-Webster (they of dictionary and thesaurus fame) have a great little word game that you can play each day - you'll also find their online dictionary and thesaurus tools a real treat. (MSN also have a great online dictionary too). The Oxford English Dictionary is, of course, one of the most respected dictionaries, and the website is top-notch, although you will need to create an account in order to use the most useful features.

Buying and Selling Rare Books : If you have an attic full of old books and are wondering what they're worth, or even if you're still looking for that elusive title - even signed first editions - then our rare books page should give some good ideas on where to begin - maybe you really are worth a fortune.

ISBN explained : There's really nothing quite as frustrating as not knowing the meaning of an initialism or acronym is there - especially when everyone else does seems to know! Well, help is at hand; the letters refer to the International Standard Book Numbers, but if you really want to impress friends with your command of the literary, then read our excerpt, which explains how the individual portions of an ISBN are created.

We appreciate the many compliments recieved from users of Bublos.com, and are always interested to read your comments and suggestions. We really do take the time to read each and every one. So, keep sending us your comments, and remember, the biggest compliment of all is for you to tell someone else about your "Bublos Experience." If you have a Web-site you may also like to see some links we have created for you.

 Sybex

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