Digg founder, Kevin Rose, brainstorms digital book improvements in a YouTube video published yesterday. In a meandering rumination titled “Some random ideas for ebooks” he shares his personal wish list for ebook publishers based on his experience with the Kindle and iPad. I’ve voiced this same frustration that you still really can’t do anything social with digital books, and yet this seems like one of the most obvious and promising value-adds to reading a book digitally instead of in print. It should be quick, easy and fun to share my marginalia with others! I understand that these early forays into digital publishing are still primitive, exploratory and cautious. With one notable exception (What is a vook?) digital publishing so far has amounted to little more than digital format print books. But it’s time to leap forward. It’s time for innovation, for a a new digital storytelling paradigm unfettered by the conventions and limitations of 500 years of print publishing. Here’s what Kevin Rose hopes to see.
Top 5 eBook Wish List:
- Character Zoom: Why can I click on a character’s name to access background information, etc.
- Audio/text annotation: Find something interesting while reading an ebook? Highlight and annotate the section to share with friends.
- Lend a book: Why can’t I click a button and loan my ebook to a friend? And access there progress while they’re reading so I know what sections to discuss? And then click again to take my ebook back?
- Dashboard: Why isn’t there a stats page which tells how many pages I’m reading/minutes, when I can expect to finish reading the book, etc?
- Share: Why are net connected devices not better at sharing? Why isn’t there more rich media (dictionary, videos, additional information, wikipedia articles, etc.) embedded in (or accessible from) ebooks? Why is it so hard to connect/share ebook experiences with others over the web?
Kevin Rose ponders virtual book groups with tracking to show reading progress of other members to facilitate talking, etc. Pipe dreams? Probably not. In fact, I expect that we’ll see many of these changes soon. It’s inevitable. My ebook wish list includes integrated text, audio and video; digital marginalia annotation (text, audio, video, etc.); and quick, easy sharing. What’s your ebook wish list?