Platform: Desktop, iPad, Windows Phone 7, iPhone & Android “Coming Soon” (iPad features differ from features available for other devices.)
Cost: Free (Books need to be purchased.)
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately talking with librarians and thinking about the world of digital reading beyond the need for libraries to make books available for checkout and download to digital devices. One of the reasons for this is that I’ve been looking at apps that provide users with opportunities to be social within the digital reading environment. Copia is one such app.
As with traditional ereader apps, Copia makes it possible to read books inside of the app. The app contains a searchable catalog of titles and users can put titles on a wish list as well as purchase them within the app. It’s also possible to search the catalog from the Copia website and add and purchase titles from the web for reading on a device or desktop.
What makes Copia different than other ereading apps is the ability to share notes with friends from right inside the app. For example, I could be reading Before I Fall on my iPad and have a thought about something that happens in the story. I write a note about what I’m thinking in the section where the thought comes to me. A friend of mine is reading the same book and gets to that section and sees my note. He can read the note, add his own note, and even reply to specifically what I wrote inside my digital copy of the book. I will then see the note that he added.
Think about teens writing notes to each other about what they are reading while they are reading – a new form of IM perhaps. Or, consider members of a book discussion group reading a book for their next face-to-face meeting. As they read they collect notes to bring to the discussion. But, they aren’t private notes they are notes available to everyone in the discussion group. Wouldn’t that be a good way to prepare for and expand the discussion of the book? A pre-discussion group discussion?
The user of Copia can decide who notes are shared with. I invite my friend Renee to join me on Copia and give her permission to see what I write inside my book. She can do the same with me. That way our in-book sharing is private and not open to the world at large.
Copia is one app that demonstrates the present and future of reading on digital devices; it’s definitely the type of reading experience we are going to be seeing more of. Teens and librarians will want to consider the features of apps like Copia and think about the use of social reading features in order to expand reading experiences and gain better understanding of the written word.