People read differently now than a few generations ago. They like concise information, preferably interspersed with pictures or graphics and big type that outlines a key point or highlights a quote.
Long ago, in acknowledgment of this trend, newspapers began changing how they package information.
Avid reader C.J. Alvarado says electronic technology lets book publishers do the same, and he and his team at Roseville's Bamboo Creative have developed an online publishing platform called Snippet to give authors an option in the world of e-books.
"I've got a library at home," said Alvarado, chief executive and co-founder of Bamboo. "I've got a ton of e-books on my device, but what we all started realizing was we just felt like there's more that the mobile reading experience could do. ...
"What if you had social conversations built right into the reading experience? What if you could have some video and audio and different things like that built right into the reading experience? 'Why does it always have to be long?' is what we kept saying."
Snippet, available from the iTunes app store, limits authors to 1,000 words per chapter, but they can write as many chapters as they like and integrate all manner of media. The Snippet app costs nothing, but authors pay $99 to publish and consumers pay 99 cents to $4.99 for each Snippet e-book. Authors receive half of the purchase price, and the remainder goes to Bamboo and Apple.
"There are five to 10 (authors) ... in the store," Alvarado said. "We have another 50 writers that are currently creating content. Since we launched ..., we have over 5,000 users in just a couple days in over 27 countries."
Snippet is a long-term investment that Bamboo and its seed investors hope will pay off. It's an offshoot of the company's main business as a website and app developer for such clients as William Jessup University, Zocalo and the American Bible Society. A recent project had the team of nine taking video interviews and snippets from Mark Burnett's miniseries, "The Bible" and creating interactive digital displays at the Bible Society's Manhattan HQ.
Is green effort worth it?
After my column appeared on Sacramento State's new elliptical cross-trainers, a reader left me a phone message saying that he thought this represented a terrible investment.
The university used a portion of $75,000 in energy rebates and other funds from SMUD to retrofit 19 machines in its fitness center, rerouting thermal energy produced during a workout into the electrical grid. It cost an average of $1,500 a machine for the retrofit. They plan to add treadmills later.
Glen Johansen is vice president of sales at ReRev, a company based in St. Petersburg, Fla., which has retrofitted workout machines at about 60 locations. Sites include golf clubhouses, military facilities such as Travis Air Force Base, plus Sac State and other colleges.
"We did a project at James Madison University a few years ago, and they sent me a report this morning," he said. "... They have a smaller system, and they've produced two megawatts of power."
Johansen acknowledged it could take decades to generate enough energy to pay for the investment but added that there are other savings. ReRev's system offloads thermal heat from elliptical machines' resister coils, so air-conditioning systems don't have to work so hard.
Leaders of The WELL, Sac State's fitness center, say they've seen savings of only $11 in the first two months, but a formal campaign began this week.
Kate Costello, The Well's assistant director, said the ultimate goal is energy education. Plus, she said, WELL staff will develop incentive programs and competitions around the machines to offer another reason to work out.
These items, just in
Hobby Lobby sent an update on the store it's developing at 1841 Exposition Blvd. in Sacramento. Company officials say it will open in June. ...
David La Roche, executive chef at Hock Farm, served up a sample of his menu Tuesday night, and the fare included shrimp and Arbuckle grits, caramel corn with bacon and duck confit with sausage. The L Street restaurant opens at 5 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday, but diners must make a reservation at www.urbanspoon.com.
Call The Bee's Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193.