Social Book Reading

October 5th, 2011 | received goods

In an otherwise interesting and incisive piece by James Bridle, I find this:

Added to the velocity of the new text is its sociability, its connectivity. Social reading, whether of the Kindle highlights, Kobo Dashboard, Instapaper, Findings or Readmill flavour, adds depth to the text without diminishing it. When I write about the reading experience, I’m talking about a deep engagement with text, an active, intelligent, two-way conversation between reader and writer

James, have you never read a comments thread in your life?  I’m sure you didn’t mean this to sound like the entitlement of the fan reader to tell the author exactly what the reader thinks of them, and to have the author respond on bended knee.  But do you really think that a writer is going to open the commenting function on an ebook and find something other than LOLWUT U CUNT?

This sounds like you believe your money buys you an exchange with the author.  I’m sure you didn’t mean it to sound like that.

(Some things are going to remain one-way broadcasts for a little while yet.  Books are one of them.  The alternative is crowdsourced literature, echo-chamber writing and the transcription of a focus group session.  And if you want that?  Television already exists.)