Kindle and the meteoric rise of ebooks in general will change us. They will change what it is to read, like it or not – and I have a feeling that many of us will feel very protective about notions of traditional reading, given how precious the act of reading is to so many of us.
And of course they already are. One of things I am noticing is my innate collector/archivist/sharer coming alive in the Kindle features that allow highlighting and sharing.
I love how Kindle allows me to collect the best snippets from passages of books for future re-use as ‘highlights’, and how these are then saved to the web for my future browsing and re-use. It really is [pukey marketing word] transformational in how I am now reading.
You can say that this is nothing new.
That folded page corners, pencil scribbles in the margins or accumulated notes in the front and rear covers can do all of this in a no-fi way. But the ease, the share ability and aggregation of the web make it a significantly more exciting opportunity for me at least.
Reading Umair Haque’s book (which as a long-term Haquite and reader, I didn’t want to rush into) I have found myself highlighting insanely frequently – at times one or two excerpts on every page, page after page.
This is not anything to aspire to. I only highlighted a few passages – if I remember right – of Neal Stephenson’s gorgeously occupying ‘Anathem’. But there is something of interest when a book activates an unusual frequency of highlighting or sharing.
Sorry to be so prosaic but perhaps there is a future metric here, not something to aim for but something to one and learn from in the digital publishing world…
Average shares per 1,000 words (shares per mille / SPM)?
Highlights per book reader?
(Yes, Kindle already has a setting which can highlight popularly highlighted passages in the text of a book, but personally I found that annoying as a reader, and from an observer’s viewpoint that feature is more contextual and buried *in* the experience. What I am thinking of is the contrails that are written across the sky, left behind the actual consumption and seen publicly and widely.)
So is this something that Amazon will include in book listings too, given their incredible track record as a pioneer in the revealing of data as a powerful social commerce lever?
Reviews, ratings and, coming soon, highlights and shares.