In an unusual social media venture that brings together Google and Facebook, BookGlutton.com founder Travis Alber is releasing Readum, a new social media application that allows readers to add comments and notes to books in their Google eBooks library and easily post them on Facebook for the general public or to specific groups.
Alber called Readum “a proof of concept” project to create a social media connection for readers across different e-reading platforms and devices. “You can’t set up a reading group with someone on an iPhone and someone else on the Kindle,” Alber said, “we’re creating a layer of social connection. Why should we divide our friends and fellow readers up by the devices they use?” Albers said Readum makes use of the ReadSocial API, an application developed by her company to create a single layer of commentary and social connection across multiple device platforms and software reading systems. “We started with Google eBooks which hasn’t got any social media turned on yet; we said let’s get it on there and start seeing what kind of use patterns we get.”
Along with Google and Facebook, Alber said she plans to partner with all the major e-reading and device platforms to implement Readum. While there is no immediate monetization plans for Readum, Alber said the longterm revenue plan is to charge their platform partners for implementing and maintaining Readum. Readum will work on websites, online magazines on the iPad, iPhone and on devices running the Android OS. “It’s a long term project; no monetization just yet, although, ironically, we’ve added a button that allows you to buy a paper edition. ” Readum comments can be posted to a users wall, Facebook Groups and Community Pages or made completely private depending on how individual Facebook permissions are set.
Readum is an extension for the Firefox and Chrome browsers that can be downloaded and installed to provide a layer of social connection, discussion and commentary to Google eBooks. Readers can add comments to specific paragraphs in their books that are then posted to Facebook groups or their Facebook wall and can then attract and display subsequent responses. Alber said Facebook is also interested in highlighting book content and users can add books to their profile. When a reader uses Readum to make a comment on Facebook, the app also creates an individual page holding all their comments and pulls in any books listed in their Facebook profile.
Albers said that while Google and Facebook are, “not companies people expect to work together, it makes sense,” emphasizing that Readum “ties the largest cloud based reading system, Google, with the largest social network, Facebook. ” She said the full ReadSocial API project will also, “work with content providers and developers to bake these features into their own communities. We’re trying to break down all these silos and create a bridge between book readers on different devices.”