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What the heck is 'social reading'?

December 22, 2011 | 12:01 pm

Subtextgraphic
There's been talk about it at forward-looking publishing conferences and between idea-filled app developers. Now that more and more people are reading books as e-books, and their e-readers are connected, how can the best of those worlds combine? In today's L.A. Times, we look at the emerging world of social reading.

Look ahead: The presents have been opened, wrapping thrown away, and for a few quiet hours you've been curled up reading the new Steve Jobs biography, a gift from your dad. You find a surprising detail and call to your significant other, "Honey, did you know ...?" but because he is busy making dinner, the idea fizzles away as you turn the page.

Or maybe when you get to that passage, with the swipe of a finger you highlight it and email it to your dad, adding a thanks for his gift. Or you click to add your thoughts to a chorus of readers who found that same passage interesting; or you check to see if there's a link to a video clip; or you find an annotation from the author; or you post it to Twitter or Facebook or Google+, where others can comment on it too.

That's called "social reading," and it's coming to an e-reading app or device near you.

That's just the beginning; read the rest here.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Image: A screenshot of Subtext, a social reading app. Credit: Subtext

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