We know what happens. You sit down, peruse publicbooks.org, read that great review, and think to yourself, “I have something to say about that passage,” or, “I need to comment on this statement,” and then … and then … what next.
To answer that question, we here present a handy user’s guide to the new Public Books website.
Step 1: Sign up! At the upper right-hand corner of your screen, you’ll find the Login/Signup button. All you need is a username, password, and email address (we never give out any information), and your profile will be up and running.
Step 2: Explore the website. Note that, on the homepage, our handy color-coordinated boxes identify the genre of each review (i.e. fiction, nonfiction, multigenre, briefs, interviews, and visual essays). Only have a minute to spare, go for one of the orange “briefs” boxes. In the mood for serious take on the weighty tome? Look for blue “nonfiction” boxes. More a fan of our captivating interviews? Click the red boxes.
If scanning Public Books content via the grid format isn’t your thing, pick our list view instead. (You'll find both options in the upper-right corner of the homepage, just above article boxes.) It’s the same set of essays, of course, but presented in a clean, elegant, black-and-white line-up.
Also, if you’re looking for reviews or photo-essays in a certain subject area, you can access our complete list by clicking on the Tags box. (Our authors and their topical concerns range far and wide—from Addiction to Diaspora, Fashion to Mystery, Nostalgia to Social Theory, and Translation to War.)
Step 3: Favorite an article. Once you’re on a specific article page, you’ll notice three icons in the upper-right corner—a paperclip, a printer, and an ellipsis—allowing you to “clip,” print, or comment on an article, respectively. By clipping an article, you'll save that piece in your profile’s list of favorites. So, don’t have time to read the new fiction review right now? Just clip it, and you'll easily find it in your profile when you’ve time to spare later. (And note: Your clippings are kept private, so clip as promiscuously as you like!)
Step 4: Join the conversation. One of the most innovative features of publicbooks.org is the reader’s ability to comment not only on/at the end an entire review but also on a select passage within the text. So, if you have something to say about the complete piece, simply scroll to the bottom and add your comment. If you’d prefer to target your comments more specifically, however, first click the comment button at the upper-right; then hover over the paragraph in question, where a lovely violet highlight will appear; click here, and your comment will be associated with that paragraph.
Keep in mind, commenting on articles and essays is an excellent way to kick off or join a dialogue with other readers, the author or artist, and/or the reviewer and delve into the piece. And please feel encouraged to favorite a comment if someone said something particularly interesting, intriguing, or amusing.
Step 6: Donate. Okay, okay, we know your reaction to this one. We’re not just pandering for money, and we understand that not everyone can donate. However, we’re a nonprofit institution operating on shoestring budget and the kindness of strangers and friends, so if you enjoy the work we’re doing, want to see more in years to come, and have a nickel or two to spare, we would greatly appreciate your generosity!