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What is Social Reading?

I have to confess I have fallen in love.

What is social reading

She is beautiful, has curves in all the right places and we do almost everything together.

We hang out at coffee shops, travel to mystical foreign lands, watch movies together, laugh over funny photos and share  ideas about a whole range of topics.

She is happy to just hang around in the office or at home while I have meetings or go cycling for hours and she never complains…not once.

She is the perfect partner and her name is iPad 3.

The Rise of the “App”

As you know the age of mobile has seen the rise of the “app” and I have been downloading apps onto my iPad like a man drinks water after crossing a desert.

I have many apps on my phone and iPad but the one app that I have been spending a lot of time with is the Kindle “app”.

I have also discovered that I am an impulse buyer and with Amazon’s one click purchase, book titles are flying off the shelf and into my virtual library.

Who can’t resist books for less than $10 that are delivered in less than 30 seconds and no matter where you are in the world.

The Age of Social Reading

I discovered social media when I first joined Facebook. In 2012 I have stumbled onto social reading.

What is social reading?

I am in the middle of reading the book “On Writing” by Stephen King and in it he reveals his early years, his passion for writing and lessons on what makes for a good writer.

It is full of inspiration and insights and I do like to share them if someone is around but often I am reading in solitude….but I can share it.

I highlight the phrase I want to share with a simple finger touch.

Then I can send it to Twitter or Facebook with a description if  I believe it needs one. It provides a sharing feature that provides me with a range of benefits.

This is Social Reading

How does it look once I have shared it?

Here is how it looks on my Facebook timeline. It has a description, a link to the highlighted quote and a link to the page you can buy it from.

Facebook sharing for Kindle on Amazon

The benefits are not only in the sharing but it places it directly into your Facebook “timeline” that you can refer to later and for your friends and family to see.

It also puts a link to the book in the Amazon store that makes it easy for others to buy with a few clicks from the Facebook page.

Now if you are an author this is rather exciting as this optimizes your “visibility” and that is a good thing. If you have a tribe of followers on Facebook and Twitter then you have a network that will buy and read your book.

The Democratisation of Publishing

On Amazon it is becoming increasingly easy to create an eBook and upload it.

We are seeing the evolution of the democratisation of publishing that sits next to the publishing tools and social media networks to market your content whether that is an ebook or an online course.

This quiet but relentless revolution sits comfortably alongside the changes that are happening in the music industry.

Content is becoming increasingly digital and disruption is the norm.

The question is to be asked.. do you need a traditional publisher?

I can now see the future of books and the age of the mass market printed book is passing.

It won’t happen tomorrow or next year but it will happen. I don’t know if I like it,  but it does seem inevitable.

What About You?

Do you think printed books will disappear? Do you use your iPad for reading?

What is the potential for authors on a social web?

Will traditional publishers become extinct?

Look forward to hearing your opinions and comments.

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Coolmitten

    I’m predicting that the print will become obselete- save the trees!

  • This is a great article that touches on a few great points. One, I feel that most people that submerse themselves in online blog reading are most likely also reading ebooks on their  mobile devices and tablets, through kindle apps, i tunes etc. And Two, the fact that it is so much easier to get content in the form of an ebook distributed to a mass audience means so much more is available, faster. I don’t necessarily feel printed books will disappear. There is still great value to have the actual book. For display in a home or office,  and to hold it and flip through the pages as you read. I do on the other hand think many publishers will disappear leaving only a few to produce for the small need in the far future. I use my iPad for reading blogs, the WSJ, forums, and listening to books via iTunes. I will still buy a hardcopy if its something I really want to read, for example the Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck. 

  • KirkCheyfitz

    Nice piece, Jeff, and, I believe, very timely. My first frustration with reading apps on my iPad was the widespread inability to share a paragraph or two with friends—to quote the book across the social web, adding my comments, of course. Now, it appears, that is getting fixed. And I think it is merely a small part of a new age we are entering—the age of shared media. Smart TV, IPTV, multiple shareable publishing platforms like Path, Intersect, etc. (and Facebook, of course). All of this heralds the soon-coming day when media that can’t be shared will be ignored.

  • Markclayton2

    I have an IPad 1 and found reading problematic in the sun because you can’t wear polarised sun glasses and the tablet over heats. It’s also a bit heavy. I guess the IPad 3 is lighter but has it over come these other issues? If it has then goodbye books forever!

  • Great! Your article was being listed as one of the top ten social media’s I Googled a while ago. 

  • I have a Galaxy pad and I have not yet used it for reading books. This is the first I’ve heard of social reading, very interesting. I may download the kindle app today and try it out. Thanks for sharing this info. I think books will never be totally absolute but there will be less of them for sure.

  • Dlathamwhite

    Unless the sum total of the national population becomes connected and can afford to purchase iPads and books–there will be a need to have hard copies of books. Otherwise a serious form of elitism is going to occur within the society. This is one the major issues regarding technology that continues to be ignored by users. Would you want to deprive people the opportunity to read? What about folks who do not want an eReader?
    I think that a combintion is better than totally eliminating one for the other.

  • freelance writers

    Social reading is the best marketing tool for independent and self published authors so far. It will allow writers to post links to their work on social media and while it is sharing their writing, it is also subtly promoting their book. These are exactly the sorts of developments in the publishing industry that traditional publishers are missing while savvy e-book authors are using them to sell books without the need for a publisher. Print on demand services will ensure that there is always a print option on books, but traditional publishers are an endangered species.

    • Thanks, You have stated it very accurately and succinctly.