Social Reading the Wave of the Future? Maybe Not.
March 5, 2013 | 12:00 pm
By Juli Monroe
I’ve been seeing lots of articles about social reading and how it’s the wave of the future for e-book discovery. CBC News had a lengthy article on the topic, and Digital Book World weighed in on it yesterday. (Incidentally, enough with the Fifty Shades references, OK guys?)
While social discovery makes for fascinating news articles, and sites like Goodreads are certainly in that space, I decided to go to the source—readers—and ask them for their opinion. You know what will make self-described introverts put down their books and speak up? Asking them for their opinions on social reading!
Here were a selection of opinions I received:
I’m not a social reader. I’m an anti-social reader. I belong to a small (6 people) book club that reads one book per month together, and that’s enough social reading for me. Beyond that, I don’t particularly care what other people are reading.
It may be because I’m an introvert, but I just don’t get this whole thing about “social reading” – is it supposed to make reading appeal more to extroverts?
(I love becca, by the way. She responds every time I toss a question out on KindleKorner.)
Crescent doesn’t mind sharing what she’s reading with friends, she’s got her limits:
I would never want complete strangers knowing what I’m reading, etc. I don’t mind finding people online through groups and discussing particular books or subjects, but it’s not anywhere near as invasive as sharing my highlights and notes from a book. I wouldn’t even want my family having all that information despite the fact that we no doubt read many of the same books.
Sara feels the same way:
Personally I don’t ever share that I finished a book or what I am reading. I used to share quotes now and then but I don’t even do that anymore … anything that wants me to share to Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else I keep disabled. I keep my own list of what books I have read, and they’re for my reference and sense of satisfaction only.
It tees me off no end that even Angry Birds on my iOS devices makes me use Game Center or I can’t play. If I wanted to be social, I’d be social.
Lisa is more on the social side, so not everyone’s against it:
Although I prefer reading alone … I do think the integration of literature and social media is the wave of the future. I also think we’ll see more crossovers between literature and other media (kind of like how video games have “cut scenes”).
…as an author, I get a real kick when I go through a Kindle copy of one of my books and find numerous people have highlighted the same passage.
(Good point, and of course I immediately checked my books. No one’s highlighting in mine.)
Donna was very blunt:
I love technology and its wonders, but not the sharing part. That’s just icky in my opinion.
Celeste is another self-described introvert:
While I don’t enjoy someone reading over my shoulder and knowing exactly what I’m reading, it isn’t one of those things I would get fussed about. I don’t do Goodreads or any of those type of tracking sites, but I know a lot of people who do … I read for pleasure, not to count how many books I’ve read.
I would honestly love to be in a book group. It would be nice to meet monthly with friends and share tea while discussing a book we read that month. I’m an introvert, but I love books and reading and I would enjoy sharing that with others.
Book group wins. Social sharing? Not so much.
Katie, however, has a definite opinion in favor of sharing:
I strongly disagree. Discussing what I am reading, during and after reading, increases my enjoyment. I enjoy escaping into the fantasy landscape and talking about what ifs while reading and then discussing the emotions raised while reading after I finish. I seem to invest more in books that I have discussed and remember them longer.
And Pickett likes seeing other people’s highlights:
Guess I am an exception: I like to see what others have highlighted, even if just to wonder why so many highlighted this. When I am highlighting the same thing as others, it makes me feel part of a community.
While some readers are obviously in favor of social reading, by far the majority who responded were not. What about you? Here’s your chance, social readers. Tell us why we need to be more social!