The eBook is a success, thanks to ease of use and portability. Not because of the innovation this medium brings. Even an activity which appears to be reserved to the classical book, flipping the pages, is simulated within iBooks on the iPad.
Will the eBook be able to walk its own path independently from its paper brother? *openmargin presented their vision today on The Next Web conference with an iPad app that turns eBooks into meeting places.
For centuries readers personalized their books by highlighting their favorite passages and adding notes. When an eBook gets an openmargin, the margin becomes public, so readers will be able to explore each other’s notes.
The *openmargin app has a reading environment where the reader focusses on his book and where he highlights passages. When he taps on a passage, he enters the openmargin, where he leaves a note and explores those of others. The conversation that will arise is based on a thematic match. *openmargin is therefore the platform to meet likeminds.
The eBook as a meeting place gives new possibilities to authors and publishers. On the internet people are not always prepared to pay for digital products, but they are eager to pay for relationships. The musician earns his money with concerts, likewise the author can earn his money by getting involved in the dialogue around the book.
Publishers are actively engaging within this movement. Maven Publishing, Eburon, Ebookling and Bloomsbury Academic made some of their books available for free to the *openmargin users. These will be directly available after downloading the application.
The beta version has a limited availability through openmargin.com. Soon the app will be available through the app store.