E-book Club
E-book apps are giving rise to reading communities online
Tech / 12 Dec 2011
While the popularity of tablets portends the future of publishing, the integration of social news apps demonstrates that readers often desire to share their literary interests with their online friends. In a manner similar to the interactive restyling of text books, the next evolution of e-books features a new rash of applications that support more inherently social reading experiences.
Subtext is the first app to use gaming cues in an interactive online reading community. The app allows authors, experts and community members to embed notes directly into the pages of their e-books, and then rewards them with points based on their contributions. Created for the iPad and integrated with Google Books, Subtext positions itself as a ‘retailer agnostic’ platform for comments, quizzes, questions, polls, videos, and images to enrich the e-book experience. It’s akin to the special features section on a DVD, but with the added bonus of connecting its users to a network of likeminded bibliophiles.
It can be challenging to read a book or article online without becoming distracted by the instant availability of additional context from the endless spectrum of articles, images and video clips available on the web. Enter Findings, a digital tool that helps avid readers organize these snippets. The ‘bookmarklet’ makes it easy to upload and highlight content from both the web and the Kindle for sharing. Transcripts, which are managed in individual libraries on the site, can be supplemented with personal notes and then shared on Tumblr and Twitter. Users can also discover new reads, and new e-reader friends, by tapping into what other readers have found.
Berlin-based startup Readmill is a so-called Last.fm for reading, offering a diversified platform for sharing notes, embedded clips and links, or recommending additional texts. The app, currently in closed beta, shows what users are reading as well as the progress they’ve made in their books and discussions to which they’ve contributed. They can highlight, comment and share via Twitter and Facebook and can also browse each other’s underlines and commentary (a feature that we imagine will be appreciated especially by students). As the developers use the word “hackable” to explain their goal for integrating books and the web, who knows what futuristic features could be on the horizon for Readmill?
©The Intelligence Group