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Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

On My Radar: Small Demons and my book-loving evolution

I thought that I had experienced all the different ways you could enjoy a book, but thanks to Small Demons, a Los Angeles based company that recently launched their site in beta, I now have a new tool for learning more about the story lines, characters and more.

If you’re obsessed with “six degrees from Kevin Bacon”-oriented conversations about books, then you’re going to enjoy this site. Search by title, place, product, etc. and you’ll uncover new connections that you may have never considered before. In the spirit of Halloween, I searched for “demons” and learned that Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fan, an Irish writer from the nineteenth century, had a seminal influence on the development of this genre.

Small Demons takes what was originally fun for me about discovering books online and makes it faster to access that information. When I was fifteen, books became a multimedia adventure through LiveJournal friends who posted photos of their bookshelves, along with quotes from new releases. Small Demons allows you to “socialize” with a book beyond the borders of the narrative within.

Magellan Media consultant Brian O’Leary told Publishers Weekly that Small Demons can work because it helps readers connect ideas with the expression of those ideas. “It’s serendipity for the digital age,” O’ Leary said. “As a platform, Small Demons gives publishers an opportunity to connect books to other books, but it also helps books compete for attention in an environment flooded with other, more passive media. Publishing will always be at a disadvantage because reading takes time and attention. But Small Demons helps improve the likelihood that you’ll find content you like, and that you’ll like the content you buy—or will at least find it useful.”

Small Demons will be successful as long as readers continue to juggle book titles and revisit them for inspiration. Thankfully for them, people now read books in different ways. Amazon and the introduction of the Kindle took my and others book reading schedule from one selection every few weeks to 6-10 at any given week. My reading habits are multi-dimensional — there are books that I only want to read through my iPhone that I would never consider reading as a hardcover. Apps/platforms like Goodreads and Small Demons have opened up my world to the book universes of my peers.

From what I can tell so far, Small Demons augments that re-exploration in a very seamless way. At this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, Small Demons founder and CEO Valla Vakili confirmed that Random House had signed with Small Demons, its second major publisher, following Simon & Schuster, an early booster, which signed on last year, and Europa Editions.

As PW noted, will pore through these new and older titles and map the details—the places, music, art, artists, drinks, authors, cars, anything you might imagine—pulling it all together for cross-reference online. The end result, Vakili explained, is a deeper, more organic, and culturally significant brand of recommendation engine. I’m looking forward to continuing to explore their beta site and seeing what else I can uncover.

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