The Book Elf is a new tool for getting digital content into the hands of readers. Discovery of titles could be improved, but it does have some potential.
Once you sign-up for the Book Elf, you have access to PDF and/or EPUB versions of a variety of public domain (PD) titles. The database of content is built by people like you and me. That means if you have access to a PD title that you would like to make available in the Book Elf, you can submit it for review. It’s a worthwhile concept for building the site’s collection.
Some of the basic content discovery functions, however, are a bit problematic. While users can search for titles by author and title, one cannot browse the Book Elf collection. That can make it difficult if a user doesn’t know exactly what they want to read, or can’t remember the author or title of a book they heard about from a friend or colleague.
Downloading titles is a simple process as is adding titles to your own bookshelf. The sharing of bookshelves is where a social aspect of the Book Elf comes in. You can search for other users (again, the search is not as easy as it might be) and add them as friends. You can see what’s on friend’s bookshelves and add their titles to your own shelf.
In the future the Book Elf plans to go beyond PD content. Their goal is to work with authors and publishers to create a license that would make it possible to borrow these copyrighted materials from The Book Elf site. If this expansion of content is achieved, the site could have some added potential for use with library users.