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iBooks and Kindle.app Don’t Get Social Networking

Craig Mod considers the state of ereading on the iPad and finds both Apple’s iBooks and Amazon’s Kindle falling radically short of what we want in our ereader applications. Mod notes the horrible typography of iBooks and Kindle, laments the useless chrome in iBooks», and rolls his eyes over the Bush-league DRM which prevents text copying in iBooks.

These excellent points enumerated, Mod hits ereader pay dirt in The Network (Or, E-Reader ‘Social’ Features)

The Greater Whole

So consider this: 10,000 of us reading the same Kindle book, each of us highlighting and taking notes. Would the aggregate of this not be illuminating? If I want to publicly share my notes with fellow Kindle or iBooks readers, shouldn’t there be a system in place to do this?

Show me the overlap of 10,000 readers' highlighted passages in a digital book. This is our ‘Cliff Notes.’ We don’t need Derek Sivers' brilliant summaries anymore (sorry Derek!) — we’re collectively summarizing for each other as we read and mark our digital copies.

Show me a heat map of passages — ‘hottest’ to ‘coldest’. Which chapters in this Obama biography should I absolutely not miss?

Let Stefan Sagmeister publicly share the passages he’s highlighted in the new Murakami Haruki novel. This is something I want to see. And I bet you do, too.

When I’m considering buying a book, show me how far the average reader gets. Do most readers get through the whole novel or give up halfway? How many notes do they take? How many passages do they highlight?

These can be intimate signifiers of the worth of a particular text. And signifiers that, until books became digital, were invisible — or at best, estimates. Systems should be in place to capture, aggregate and allow access to this data. And this access should be seamlessly integrated with our e-readers.

A me, too moment if I ever saw one.


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