A new buzz-term is flying around the publishing community: Social Reading. New websites have been popping up over the past year and a half, from Copia to Shelfari, bringing together ebook clubs from readers all over the world and connecting them with other book-lovers with similar interests. From these sites one can read, buy, comment, quote, and share ebooks and passages with friends, family, and other authors. You can see what your favorite novelist is reading now or read a favorite passage from out-of-print novels, dredged up from whatever bookshelves they were hiding on and put into a social network/online store for books and other written works.
eBooks make social reading possible. With internet connectivity, highlighted passages from Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s Nook can be instantly posted on Goodreads (a popular Social Reading site) or shared with the entirety of Amazon’s and/or Barnes and Noble’s customer base—showing other readers who bought the same book how many people highlighted given passages. eReaders have reached a point where they have the same in-the-margin note-taking, highlighting, and bookmarking capabilities of their traditional counterparts; but now these notes, highlights, and bookmarks can be transmitted from device to device, across the internet, and into our own books automatically.
Social reading—whether it is through a networking website or an eReader—has many applications. Teachers and students can forward their notes about a text to one another, books can be continued on from where you left off from multiple locations and machines, and can find new material to read through the interests of those in your own social reading circles. We at OBS see this social reading buzz as a precursor to an even bigger boom.
http://www.openbookmarks.org/ – What is Social Reading?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/10/social-reading-sites_n_846895.html – List of “Best Social Reading sites”