Making Books into a Shareable Experience

Readmill's Henrik Berggren thinks that physical books are doomed - and that digital books need to be a shareable experience

Henrik Berggren, Readmill

There haven’t been a lot of changes in books as a piece of technology. They’re certainly haven’t become a networked experience yet.

Readmill are aiming to become a community for readers – a lot of people have been focusing on the technology, by adding a lot of features to the reading experience. And why are people making books digital without making them sharable? Just taking a book, putting it on screen with fake page turns and a wooden bookshelf isn’t creating a digital product.

Henrick’s company don’t want to make the experience of reading social. People don’t want push notifications while they’re immersed in a book. No, they’re talking about shareable reading, building things from your reading that can be shared.

Three things he’s excited about:

Digitalisation – being able to carry so many books at all times, search…But there are more important things, like the device. And the best reading device could be the mobile phone. Catalogues are all converting really fast. The retina display is a really great reading experience.

Books are icebergs. Social software right now is the tip of the iceberg. We seen the name, the cover and the author. That’s not the book. The book is the juice between the covers. Existing site just display lists, and not the relevant part of the book. Instead, they want to increase the number of touch points through the book – unlocking the full life of the book. Highlights is a huge part of that. People have been highlighting books for centuries – but it wasn’t shareable until now. This creates a way of deep linking into a book.

Publishing is a button, not and industry. He thinks physical books will go away. They’ll become artefacts, collectors items. But DRM needs to go away. JK Rowling is real easing her books without DRM. And imprints from bigger publishers are going DRM free every week. And self-publishing is just starting to happen.

Together these things will transform the book.