TechTip: New App – Social Networking Within the Pages of E-Books
iPad owners, there’s a new app on the market that you should know about. Last week, Subtext, a Silicon Valley start-up, released a free app that promises to create the “first reading community in the pages of e-books.”
That’s certainly a bold claim–and one that has generated some buzz in the tech world. The company has attracted $3 million in venture capital and established partnerships with big-six publishers.
That’s because the company has a new take on interactive reading. Similar to the Kindle, Nook, and other e-reading products, the app aims to create a “reading community” by allowing readers to share notes and comments. But unlike other e-readers, Subtext lets readers respond to comments within the pages of the e-book.
Those who are already familiar with social networking sites will find that sharing notes on Subtext is similar to posting an update on Facebook. For instance, users can adjust the app’s personal privacy settings to control the visibility of their comments. And, when another reader responds to their note, they receive an alert, which they can either respond to or ignore.
While the company touts the app’s interactive features, it certainly has more to brag about than that. The app comes pre-loaded with high-quality, supplemental content. This includes author commentary, such as character notes about Under the Tuscan Sun from author Frances Mayes. It also includes critical analyses, such as Los Angeles Times book critic David Ulin’s interpretation of Miss Lonelyhearts.
But one of the main reasons Subtext is currently turning heads is the fact that it’s the first open, or “retailer agnostic,” product of its type. Even though the Subtext library currently includes only eighteen e-books, readers can easily take advantage of its open platform and import any book from the Google or Kobo bookstores, any Adobe DRM -protected e-pubs, or DRM-free e-pubs, such as books in the Project Gutenberg collection. More importantly, the app doesn’t support books purchased through Amazon or Apple, since they operate on closed systems.
It’s tough to tell how readers will respond the app’s new features and open platform, but it’s certainly a hot topic of the moment. If you own an iPad, check it out.
Social networking with the reading community – a great idea, but will it catch on? Post your Thoughts below.
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