I Love Audio Books

Most of my friends know that I am a huge bookworm. Both Jon and I are regulars at Kinokuniya bookstore in Singapore and Amazon is our favourite online store. When Kindle was launched, I really wanted to get it but I held back. My handbag is currently filled with all kinds of little gadgets (I tend to carry two ipods and several mobile phones). I don’t think I’ll be able to carry one more device.

So, the last couple of months, I have started buying audio books. It all started with me being really busy with work and traveling a lot. Reading a book on the plane gives me headache. I can’t really read when I am in a cab too. I used to read 2-3 hours per night but lately, I am so tired after work, the moment my head hits the bed, I go into dreamland. Audio books became the “solution!” I convert all the tracks to MP3 and save them onto my iPods. Easy! No need to drag a pile of books with me when I travel or go for holiday and no need to bring additional “reading gadget.” I can now pack 10 “books” or more with me everyday and listen to them while I am commuting or when I wait for hours at airports.

In my last post on Social Media books, a lot of those books are also available in audio cds. I did a quick check on Wikinomics and The Cluetrain Manifesto and they have the audio version!

What I also like about audio books is, it reminds me of childhood – when Mum and Dad used to read to us (my younger brother and I) before bed time. And then, they tend to stop half way into the story and insisted that we should be sleeping. I love having people read to me. Oh! I have an audio version of the NKJV Bible too. Being a church-goer and a fan of a female preacher, Joyce Meyer, I have been stocking up her audio books recently, as well as C.S Lewis’s.

Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t think audio books are really popular in Asia, specifically in Singapore (where I am based now). I can hardly find any audio books at the retail stores. The only few i found are from BORDERS and they are really expensive. The good thing is, iTunes has a really good selection and there is always the wonderful Amazon.

I am not saying I am giving up books (in print) or magazines (that are not available in cds), I am glad that I am enjoying the alternative to reading books!

Interesting read:-

Last year, New York Times reported on a budding author who recorded a short audiobook for her unfinished print. The audiobook climbed to the top of iTunes’ best-selling books after she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

I think all new books from now on should have the unabridged audio version!

Bookshelf: Social and New Media

I was just looking at some of the searches that landed in one of the top posts in this blog – Social Networking Book Sites. I wrote that post quite a long while back and it constantly came up as top. Some of the common searches that ended at my blog includes “social media books, new media and social networking”

That post is not exactly about books on social networking but more of online cataloging sites (such as Shelfari and the Library Thing) that allow users to catalog their books, connecting with other book lovers and share reviews/book lists.

I did a quick Google search on the keywords “social networking books” and true enough, that blog post came up third in the first page of results. I have received a couple of emails from a few folks who surfed in and asked if i could recommend any books on social networking/ social media. I replied two of them and then I got really busy and didn’t manage to get to the rest. So, I thought, I might as well list down a couple of books that I personally thought are pretty cool. Walter Lim recommended a few too (via Facebook).

Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the way businesses Talk with Customers – by Robert Scoble

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything – by Don Tapscott & Anthony D. Williams

The New Influencers: A Marketer’s guide to the new social media – by Paul Gillin

Now is Gone: a primer on new media for executives and entrepreneurs – by Geoff Livingston and Brian Solis

Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies – by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff

Join the Conversation: How to engage marketing -weary consumers … – by Joseph Jaffe

Connected Marketing: The Viral, Buzz and Word of Mouth Revolution – by Justin Kirby & Paul Marsde

I am sure there are alot of other good books out there. I am currently reading Seth Godin’s Meatball Sundae that Walter gave quite a good review on.

The book that I am trying to get my hands on now is – Presentation Zen – by Garr Reynolds.

Book Description
FOREWORD BY GUY KAWASAKI — Presentation designer and internationally acclaimed communications expert Garr Reynolds, creator of the most popular Web site on presentation design and delivery on the net — presentationzen.com — shares his experience in a provocative mix of illumination, inspiration, education, and guidance that will change the way you think about making presentations with PowerPoint or Keynote. Presentation Zen challenges the conventional wisdom of making “slide presentations” in today’s world and encourages you to think differently and more creatively about the preparation, design, and delivery of your presentations. Garr shares lessons and perspectives that draw upon practical advice from the fields of communication and business. Combining solid principles of design with the tenets of Zen simplicity, this book will help you along the path to simpler, more effective presentations.

Bloggers: Quantity VS Quality

Blame it on work. I have been unable to do much outside of work. Now that I am taking a short break, I can start writing..

Several topics and thoughts went through my mind the last few days and I shall try to jot them down in this and next couple of posts.

One of my colleagues came to Singapore from Sunnyvale to work on a project with me and we had a chat about how different the bloggers are in Singapore VS those in the U.S . He was highly amused at the “type” of bloggers that show up at events and the things they blog about.

I was discussing the same topic with another friend who commented that, perhaps the blogosphere here is not as sophisticated and generally still revole around recreational writing rather than niche blog posting. For example, I have always been trying to find influential technology experts who blog and have a healthy traffic in Singapore. I can only think of, perhaps 2-3 right now. If i am a client, trying to reach out to tech bloggers here, i have extremely limited options and would probably end up raeching out to tier 2 (and slightly less tech-savvy) bloggers.

I guess, this post is also directed to the social media consultants who are constantly advising clients to include bloggers outreach in PR/ marketing campaigns. It is definitely more than relationship building with the bloggers, we need to also know what we want to tell and WHO we want to tell it to.

Why would I want a popular food blogger (who might have 20,000 readers) whose interest is in food, restaurant reviews and receipes to try force a new high-tech application launch to his face and get him/ her to write about it?

If i am announcing a business strategy, why would i get a 17-year-old blogger (regardless of how popular his blog is) who writes in broken English to review our announcement?

Reach is one thing, influence is another. Quality (as in targeted audience and type of blogs) is definitely key. As a client, if i were to hold a bloggers outreach event (ie: in the office), to launch a new product, I would probably love to read/ hear about what the bloggers think of the product, ask intelligent questions about it and even if the post is controversial/ negative, at least it helps the client /company understand what users are thinking. What a client probably doesn’t necessary need is the blogger’s thoughts about the furniture, the carpet, the toilet signboard or the noodles he/she ate during the event and no mention about the product. When this happen, I can’t help but wonder where the problem lies.

Some interesting blog posts:-

Brendan Hodgson wrote about “There’s more to digital PR than social media

Brian Solis on “Making Mistakes and Amends in Blogger and Media Relations

Kevin Lim’s (non-social media post) but a hot topic on iPhone in Singapore