Today I had an interesting and deep discussion about eBooks, the Kindle, and the like with one of my bosses at the liquor store. Who knew a wine salesman could carry a conversation like this? Well, there is that one guy who did…but we don’t talk to him. ANYWAYS…I digress. So tonight we talked about how eBooks can become more social and how borrowing/sharing can possibly work. Please excuse my writing, I pretty much just poured out my mind onto the keyboard with little proof reading.
Now I am not sure how much of this is already being done by the kindle, the nook, or that other crappy one, so bear with me if these features exist. The fun thing about physical books for many people is the ability to share thoughts, questions, and theories with other readers, mostly done by word of mouth or email. But with eBooks there is an ENORMOUS potential to integrate social networking into this and make it even more social than it is now. For instance, say you are reading a book and every time you bookmark your place that is shared on your Facebook feed, twitter feed, or even your google+ account *if you or anyone still uses it*. Not only book marking, but say on some pages you highlight a paragraph or page that you want to make a comment or note on and you can choose to share that as well. This feature would allow for a book club like experience with other people reading the book.
Now say you go to your eBook library on your device and you can see who else in your town, state, region or wherever has also bought the book and set up a kind of readers dialogue with this person or even create a group where all those involved and see where each other are in the book and share thoughts on the book the group is reading. Now not only within this group page/dashboard would you see some of these things, you could now see other people’s bookmarks in the book while you are reading, as well as see any notes or comments if you wanted to read them. The comments or notes could be made public to the group or private, and you could have groups comments that you could add to, these could be audio clips as well. I just found that there was a HUGE potential for this idea and that maybe I should sell this to Amazon and not be blogging about this, but I figured, what the hell.
Now the other big thing we talked about was how eBooks could be shared with others either same device only or cross platform…not sure how or if that could work for a number of different reasons. Now I’m sure book borrowing or sharing has been halted by the publishers…but why? Normal books have this problem, so not sure what the big deal is.
This is how I see eBook sharing going down…say you buy a book, you’re halfway through and a friend wants to check it out to see if they might like it. You go to your eBook library and select the book and select share from a menu of some kind, you then select who you wish to share it with, could be an Amazon account name/email and the book is then locked on your Kindle or device and you cannot read or open the book until the person you shared it with returns it. Now obviously I think the purchaser should have a kill switch to be able to take back the book at anytime. So the person borrowing the book now can also see where you have your bookmark and comments, and they can add comments to the book and place their bookmark as well. Now the power to delete any comments or bookmarks should reside with the owner of the book, incase the person who borrowed it decides to not finish it or you’ve lent it out to a ton of people and just want to clean it up. Say the borrower really likes the book, but the lender wants it back, they can then go to their library or even within the open borrowed eBook, chose to buy it for themselves. Once purchased they retain all the bookmarks and comments they have made in your copy and can choose to keep seeing updates to your comments and bookmark placement or to just prefer to not see what you are up to. Once they purchase the eBook, your copy becomes unlocked and you can now lend it to another. I think this is a GREAT idea, and once again I am not sure the specifics of how this would all work, but I think it’s a concept someone can run with. So get on that Amazon.