So multiple people sent me articles on a new app Subtext this last week. Why? Because it’s virtually a nascent Metatext (see my Bibliotek for a future view of social publishing, authoring and (w)reading)!
The Kindle, with notes sharing and @Author, Kobo with its ‘Reading Life’ competitive applications, together they come close… But unlike these two main competitors (I’m not disparaging either the Nook (also painfully unavailable here in Australia) or the Fruit, just that neither support much in the way of sharing), unlike these two, Subtext and Readmill put their social media push in-line with the book text itself.
This is how I view the future of e-reading, Google/Apache Wave-like cascading conversation embedded within a shared ebook. The attraction to this for me is economic; drawing from the research on film and (particularly) music, the growth areas of these industries have been in event and performance. This harkens to their theatrical and live pasts, something which books have traditionally… not had. For film and music, this is in growth because (it’s argued that) this experience is unique to the time of its performance. Digital work, either legally purchased or pirated, can only act as a driver for that shared experience.
In-line social networks in an ebook make for a similar idea. It could be copied, as it was at a previous static point in authorship (for a very broadview of ‘authorship’), but that would lack any dynamic sense of textual ownership.
I view this dynamic ebook as a kind of textual performance media.
… thoughts would be appreciated on this one!