Pocket Bookshelf

Earlier this week I received a very exciting email from Louise at RealSam, telling me about a new feature on my Pocket called Bookshelf.

It enables you to search for and curate a collection of books by subject, rather than having to know the title or author. So, it should save me a tonne of time asking my Google Home device to give me the correct details of books I half remember hearing about before I ask Pocket to find them for me.

As you’d expect from RealSam, it’s simple to use with straight-forward voice commands. So, all you need to do is press the Home button, wait for the bleep, and say ‘Find books about’ whatever you are looking for.

Having just returned from a weekend’s rock climbing I was keen to top up my wish-list of classic routes in the UK, so I asked Pocket to ‘Find books about rock climbing in Britain’ and was given a list of over 50 titles. With the comedic exception of ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’, they were pretty much all exactly what I was looking for, and I felt like I’d just been led to the climbing section of a very well-stocked county library.

I decided to pick a title from each decade between now and the 1950s to give me a variety of writing styles and an insight into the history of my favourite sport. Adding them to Pocket was easy too. I could have selected titles as I went through the search results, but instead I waited till I had gone through the whole list then said ‘Go back’ to return to the start of my search. Then I selected the books that I wanted by number from the list of 5-at-a-time that Pocket read out. So, when Pocket said, ‘2, In High Places by Dougal Haston’, I said, ‘Select number 2’ and Pocket repeated the title, then offered me the options to ‘play, or go back or add to Bookshelf’. I replied, ‘Add to Bookshelf’ and it was done!

Tempted as I was to select the ‘Play’ option and start listening immediately, I chose to ‘Go back’ to continue curating my list. Within quarter of an hour, I had added another 7 titles (plus ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’, to my now bulging Bookshelf.

As with the My Recent Books function on Pocket, those on your Bookshelf show as a numbered list, with the most recent first. All you need to do to find them is press Home and say Bookshelf.

By now my mind was racing. With Bookshelf at my command to search Pocket’s five libraries, I had the perfect way to put together a summer holiday reading list for myself. So, I pressed home and said, ‘Find books about Cornwall’.

And as I waded happily through a wealth of Poldark-inspired romances, and tales of piracy, shipwreck and survival, I realised that, just like rock climbing, Bookshelf has its risk factor. If I do get round to reading all the books I’ve now lined up, including ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’, I might never climb out of my armchair again!

And if you are still unsure about whether to give Pocket a try, the other great news this week is that RealSam has just extended its returns policy from 2 weeks to 2 months. Meaning that you can now enjoy up to 60 days unlimited access to RealSam’s friendly UK-based Technical Support team while you get fully acquainted with your Pocket; and hopefully find it becomes as integral to your life as I have.

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