Spring is here. And as we begin the first few days of the second quarter 2012, we bring you what people are buzzing about all over the web.

Watch a Book Being Born

How many of us ever wonder what went into the making of a book? The Guardian features an exclusive video of Smith Settle Bookbinders in Leeds. The owners, Don Walters and Tracey Thorne, are filmed in the making of the 17th Slightly Foxed book, Suzanne St Albans’s memoir “Mango and Mimosa”, from start to finish. It’s a beautiful snapshot of the printing process. Such delicate human labor goes into the book – from glueing to scrubbing and painting.

 

Gwendolyn and the Underworld

Here’s another reason to support indie publishing. Four reasons, actually. 64 pages long, full color, hard-bound, with a mishmash of animals. Meet peacockopotamus, tortokiwikey, llamorangaturtang, and the giralligator in the underworld adventures of the heroine, Gwendolyn.

Gwendolyn and the Underworld is an illustrated storybook about a young Pet Reaper (think Grim Reaper + dead pets) who ventures to solve the mystery behind her Overworld roots.  She uncovers a rotten conspiracy with her corpulent corpse aunt, a sidekick Peacodgehog, an army of Skellies, and slew of part-this and part-that creatures. The book is due to be released in July but needs support to get it published. Author Ian Samuels and illustrator Bill Robinson need backers for their project. Check out Kickstarter for more details.

 

New Study Shows that e-Reader Users Read More

A new study by Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that 21% of Americans have read an e-book in the past year.

“Those who have taken the plunge into reading e-books stand out in almost every way from other kinds of readers. Foremost, they are relatively avid readers of books in all formats: 88% of those who read e-books in the past 12 months also read printed books. Compared with other book readers, they read more books. They read more frequently for a host of reasons: for pleasure, for research, for current events, and for work or school. They are also more likely than others to have bought their most recent book, rather than borrowed it, and they are more likely than others to say they prefer to purchase books in general, often starting their search online.”

Other key findings include:

– the average readers says she has read 24 books in the past 12 months

– 30% of those who read e-content say they now spend more time reading, and owners of tablets and e-book readers particularly stand out as reading more now

– there are four times more people reading e-books on a typical day now than was the case less than two years ago

– 42% of readers of e-books in the past 12 months said they consume their books on a computer

 

Manga Farming by Koshi Kawach

Tokyo-based artist Koshi Kawachi recently demonstrated his “Manga Farming” technique – which uses old manga as a growing medium – by cultivating a crop of radish sprouts in an installation at the Matsuzakaya department store in Nagoya.

Kawach infuses each comic book with the seeds of radish sprout, then with a little water and some sun. Amazing, right?

This opens up a whole new range of possibilities for book recycling and indoor farming. According to a USDA studypulp and paper waste recycling to produce fertilizer is very much the need of the hour.

 

Google’s Project Glass

Google unveiled yesterday Project Glass – an experimental pair of glasses that work like a computer screen.

The video shows a young man navigating New York City. He uses a pair of futuristic computer glasses to send emails, check Google Maps and navigate the Strand Bookstore in New York City.

Here’s more about the project: “A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.”

Thoughts? Love it? Or hate it?

 

5,000 Books Cascade out of a Building in Spain

The Spain-based artist, Alicia Martin is getting a lot of attention for her latest sculptural installation. “Biografias” was created for the poetry festival Cosmopoetica in Molino San Antonio, Spain. The cascade of 5,000 books shoot out from several windows like well-read torrents gushing forth for public consumption.

Take a look at this short video here to see her piece in motion.