Ah, social networking. Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay.
Whether or not you subscribe to the current culture of sharing (and often over-sharing) with friends as well as perfect strangers everything you do, eat, read, find cool/awful and everywhere you go, by now you must have heard of some of the most popular check-in apps.
There’s Foodspotting, which allows you to check in when eating at restaurant, cafés and other food establishments and share photos of your meal/drink and give it a rating.
There’s Yelp, which is great to find just about anything near you, be it shopping venues, restaurants, groceries, beauty salon… Yelp tells you where to find it, how much you can expect to spend, and what other people thought about it. And of course there’s the check-in function – ’cause that’s what we are talking about, right? – so you can tell everyone how awesome that facial/pizza/cappuccino was.
And then there was GetGlue. GetGlue was without a doubt my favorite check-in app, the only one I used regularly, because while I don’t always care to let people know where I am, I am always interested in finding new books and music and seeing what people are reading or listening to.
Up until recently, Get Glue allowed you to check in at concerts, movies, or while reading a book, watching TV or listening to music or podcasts. You could get recommendations based on your check-ins, and you got a tally of how many times you checked in reading a specific book or watching a show.
Now however, GetGlue has shunned its large community of book and music-lovers and has devoted itself entirely to motivating couch potatoes to watch more and more TV by rewarding them with stickers, the more TV show episodes and moves they watch. ’cause that’s such an accomplishment, and one must motivate people to spend more time in front of the idiot box. *Snort*
Don’t get me wrong, I do watch some TV series and the occasional movie – Nashville seems to have made me more amenable to listening to the occasional country song without gagging, and I enjoy the nasty humor in 2 Broke Girls, and I love Game of Thrones just as much for being beautifully made as for turning me onto the books it is based on – but my real love lies with books, first and foremost. I will take a good book over a TV show or a movie any day of the week, even if the TV show is musical-based and features Jack Davenport.
Which is why I am kind of pissed off about the recent changes in GetGlue, and why I have deleted it from my phone, and why I went in search of good apps for book lovers like myself. Here are a few I have found that deserve a second look, and possibly a download (especially since they are all free!):
|Goodreads: You can save books in your to-read virtual shelf and get recommendations based on your favorite authors and genres. You can also import your wishlists from Amazon, saving you the time of importing books manually – though if you log on to the Goodreads website, importing and reviewing books is really no big deal.|
|Books: This app, with its lovely design and huge selection of free books, will make you feel like you have a tiny library in your pocket. Click on the book spine with the genre you are in the mood for, and scroll through the long list of works available.
If you prefer audiobooks, check out this version of the app, that gives you access to nearly 5,000 audiobooks for $.99.
|Kindle: Access all your Kindle purchases as well as all free book downloads available on Amazon. The iPhone screen is a bit small for me to use this regularly, but it will do nicely in a pinch. Any book-reading is better than none at all!|
|BookShout!: This is a decent alternative to the Kindle app: you can buy books or download free ones, and you can download a free “teaser” of books you are considering. Invite your friends to join to create your own little book-reading network, and for every friend who joins you’ll receive a one dollar credit to use in the app’s bookshop (also accessible online.)|
|LovelyBooks: Find out more about books and authors, search books by title, author or tags, and find interesting discussions and new reads by checking out the apps “most discussed books” feature. The design is simple and user-friendly but not flat and uninspiring. This app comes in German only, but it looks good, so if you speak German, check it out.|
|Ghost Stories: If your tweens enjoy the whole “scary stories in the dark” thing at sleepovers and around campfires, download this app, which comes with over 100 complete scary stories that should keep them busy (or at least very jumpy!) long into the night.|
Got any more? Leave a comment!