“In the future, e-books will act just like social networks. We’ll use them on our phones, share and comment right inside e-reader apps, and publishers will use our data to help them make better marketing decisions. If you think digital reading is exploding now, just wait.”
So says Michael Grothaus in his article for the FastCompany website: “E-Books Could Be The Future Of Social Media”.
“In the future, e-books are going to explode beyond just containing stories, becoming niche social networks where we discuss our favorite passages with other readers and even authors and publishers buy our data to make more informed decisions. So hold on tight, book lovers. Reading as we know it will soon change, forever.”
According to the article, and Grothaus’ interview of Readmill CEO Henrik Berggren, eBooks are soon to be a mini social network all on their own: contained and managed within the eBook ‘environment’ and by the users. Berggren argues that the success of iTunes and Kindle eReaders are still based and stuck in the centuries old approach on reading a book and putting it on the shelf. Taking a lead from GoodReads he (correctly?) ventured that the future is mobile. While Goodreads is good on mobile it is better on a full desktop screen, whereas Readmill is designed for and around the mobile reader … train, bus, park bench, coffee shop, kitchen table, etc.
The whole article is very good, please read it, especially when the conversation gets around to the anonymised analytics, and how publishers could use this information (reading speed, re-reading of sections, etc.) to determine and even control the writing style of authors. Yes, really!
At the moment the world of books is still, for me, controlled by the big publishers, despite the increase in self-publishers (me included!). But what if we could utilise existing hardware (tablets, smartphones, etc.) and bring books, social media, networking, community, etc. together in more than just an App? What if there really was a way to make the eBook more than the text? I see a limitation in the format of the book itself (ePub, MOBI, etc.) as well as the apps used to read them. I see possibilities in how Kindle books have the ‘x-ray’ feature, but not for the content, but for the network or readers, past and present. What do you think?