Kobo's new e-book reader not only tells everyone what you're reading, but lets them share your margin notes too, just as Amazon once predicted its Kindle would do. The UK launch of the Vox eReader early last week garnered little attention – a £170 Android tablet with a 7in screen to be sold by by WH Smith doesn't set the world …
So, it's a good start...
I don't own an e-reader, seen them on the tube, not sure they've got enough words per page for me but essentially I'm agnostic.
The kobo blurb on openness attracted me, I would have found it helpful if you'd checked on how open it was (its seemingly major differentiating feature) rather than commented on a groupware feature that doesn't appeal to you and will only be effective when its market share grows.
While I'm not a member of a reading club, if (for instance) such a club consisted of peripatetic work colleagues then the possibilities of remote participation through margin notes and/or other stuff seems like a feature that might work. If the feature needs to be discussed at all, then it seems like WHS doesn't deserve the faint denigration I infer.
FWIW, from a reverse perspective, soon I might be meeting some international people at a nerdy IRL event, whom I've sort of grown to know via the texting discussion facility of the web based equivalent.
All fair enough if you can disable it. Some people may like that sort of thing. For me, reading is not a social activity. It'd be interesting to read "Catcher in the Rye" three times end-to-end and see if you get a SWAT team in through your window.
Reading is *not* a social activity... indeed, most of what I do is not a social activity *unless and until* I make it so.
Which is why my current ebook, and any future ebooks, will not have mobile connectivity and if possible, not even wireless.
Whatever happened to 'privacy' and 'mind your own business'?
I can see the value in reading other people's hand-scribbled margin notes. In non-fiction books, e.g. history or economics, you might want to read the notes of another expert reader. The problem would be how to pay for this - the expert reader doesn't get anything (other than the prestige), and the user base would be small. On a technical front, does E-ink have sufficient resolution for hand-written notes?
Yes, but how do you know that the margin note has been written by another expert and not somebody pretending to be an expert or indeed just a troll?
The Vox is an LCD based android reader.
There'd have to be some kind of mechanism to choose whose notes you're looking at. I wouldn't want the whole world's comments - that'd be worse than reading the comments on here ;-)
Learning to evaluate marginalia has long been a standard task for scholars in many fields. It's really not that difficult. Ask yourself, Is this comment legible? Do I understand how it's relevant to the text? Does it make an interesting contribution? Do I care?
If the answer to all four is "yes", then you have a couple of choices, depending on field of research, strength of claim, and personal inclination. You can do additional research to verify or refute the claim made by the marginal note; or you can use it as an occasion for further reflection on the source material, in which case it really doesn't matter whether it's reliable. It's just a point of departure.
I think a shared-marginalia feature like this one is useful in some research and study environments, such as graduate seminars. That said - and though I'm a fan of marginalia, my own and others' - I'd still have my graduate students write proper response essays to share with the class. Shared marginalia wouldn't substitute for sustained writing.
Integrated With The Wrong Social Network
I own a Kobo (the previous version), and the social networking stuff is available as a download app, which is of interest to me... for an entirely different network. Goodreads, Library Thing, and whatever else is out there are useful, popular, and have the right degree of interaction. So why Facebook, the expose-everything network, instead of a book-oriented site?
"moiety"@ 11:14 - easy to disable - its in the instructions. I did it right away.
Neil Barnes @ 14:24 - easy to turn off WiFi. Saves the battery a lot too.
My main complaint: no way to get rid of some built-in apps that keep starting up. (eGlobe, INQ)
Already checked that, thanks, Chris.
The Kobo touch 6" is what I'm looking at to replace my Sony in a couple of weeks. The display is excellent... but I'm disturbed to hear about these inbuilt applications.
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