Over the weekend we were delighted to read David Rothman’s blog. He’s reflecting (and influencing) the rising tide of discussion concerning interactivity and ebooks. More and more, people discuss the possibility of shared annotations and book-based communities, and look to those traits to deliver the next generation of online reading. Just this weekend Rothman’s Teleblog posted:
Instead of just regarding e-books and the Net as marketing mechanisms, writers need to think of them both as settings for conversations—platforms for genuine communities of fans…
One of the reasons that BookGlutton is launching a web-based ebook reader has to do with its firm commitment to community. We think that community discussion, upload capability, and intelligent design are all indispensable pieces of the ebook puzzle. Naturally, building something that handles good-looking, reflowable text and still manages all the technical bells and whistles is a tall order, and probably explains why we had to reevaluate our launch date by a month. 🙂 But we’re undeterred. More than that, actually. We’re terribly excited to get this thing out there and see what people think.
It probably goes without saying that tightly integrating a community and a book is a challenge. There are an infinite number of reader-types and just as many reader-preferences. But we think we’ve come up with a solution that is satisfying to use. It can let the community in or out at any time. It’s pleasant to look at. It’s fun to use. It may not be for everyone, but it is different, and that’s the most exciting part.