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Glose Is A New Ebook Reader That Turns Reading Into A Social Experience

14 November 2014

From TechCrunch:

Meet Glose, a brand new ebook reader for your phone, tablet and laptop. Glose is like the Kindle apps, but on steroids. Reading a book in Glose becomes a collective experience as you can discuss quotes with your friends and other Glose users, keep notes and more. You can also browse a feed of your friend’s annotations to get a taste of books you have yet to read. At heart, the team wants to create a small social network around inspiring books.

. . . .

For its first early adopters, Glose recommends a few startup books to read with the community. It works a lot like a book club as you will find a lot more annotations in these books than in the rest of the catalog.

I read the beginning of The Hard Things About Hard Things from Ben Horowitz. Beta users left annotations, and it made me want to read the rest of the book after this post. Glose makes a lot of sense for non-fiction. For example, people working in tech can comment with their personal first-hand experience on the topics of the book.

“I kept a notebook with handwritten notes and key quotes that I wanted to learn by heart or read later,” co-founder and CEO Nicolas Princen told me in a phone interview. “This notebook — I lost it.”

Link to the rest at TechCrunch and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

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44 Comments to “Glose Is A New Ebook Reader That Turns Reading Into A Social Experience”

  1. I agree with a commenter on the OP; this might be great for non-fiction, but not fiction. My idea of social is saying, “This is a super cool book!” when I’m done reading it.

    • Really. I’ve never even wanted to be part of a book club. It sounds too much like school, and, well, I’ve had more than enough of school, thank you.

      • Yeah, school with a Mean Girls vibe to it. I get enough of that BS on Goodreads and Amazon reviews already. I really don’t want it invading my personal space.

        Barbara’s comment below about the disappearance of alone time resonated with me. Fiction reading is my favorite method of introvert recharging. Third party commentary is not relaxing. 🙂

    • Same here. I do not understand the push towards socializing while reading.

      After reading, sure thing. During? No.

      • If I had to guess, I’d say its not driven by demand. It’s driven by folks trying to combine books and social media. Not necessarily a good combination.

  2. Nice for book clubs, I suppose.

    If you could persuade other people to start a book club around your book, and you could answer questions, that might work. Maybe something people could get started in newsletters, etc.

    You’d want a way to deal with troll annotations.

    TechCrunch apparently doesn’t want you to talk if you don’t have Facebook, but one of the app people does seem to be responding to technical comments.

    (Come to think of it, it would be nice for people to be able to tag annotations, either when they posted or when they read. Add tags for “related info,” “sarcastic comment”, “political comment,” “complaint,” “random obscenities,”
    “troll,” “critique,” “praise,” “laughter,” etc. That way, people who wanted to read sarcastic comments or plot hole critiques could do that, readers who wanted to make sarcastic comments could do it and tag it so without getting banned or annoying people, people who wanted to make sudden happy dances and appreciative LOLs could do that, and nobody would have to read the random obscenities. You could even include star-ratings, so people could ask to be shown only 5-star “laughter” comments.)

    (Of course, this would still require some community monitoring by the app company, or whoever deployed such a system, and it still wouldn’t be perfect. But it might help.)

    (It would probably help authors doing book clubs keep some sanity, too.)

  3. The disappearance of alone time.

    • +1 I’d rather be immersed in the story world. 😉 That means some quality alone time.

    • Do you think the people who come up with these ideas are extroverts or are afraid to be alone? (P.S. Totally serious question, Barbara.)

      • That’s an interesting question. Maybe they’re the same people who have to have the television always on in the background, even if no one is watching. Or people who chatter non-stop? My hypothesis is that there’s something in the silence that unnerves them.

        (But I like and prefer silence, so my opinion is biased.)

      • @ Suzan

        I dated a guy who could not be alone. Understandable really because then he’d be with himself and being with him was no picnic.
        So yes, I think there’s an argument to be made that people like this are terrified by being in their own company with their own thoughts.

      • The prominence of social media always reminds me of the way they describe a telepathic breakdown in a comic such as X-men. I can’t imagine wanting to know what every person I know eats for breakfast and how they feel about every news story. That’s what twitter and facebook seem like to me. Like a room full of people shouting.

      • I think the people who come up with this stuff might be introverts, might be extroverts, and might be some of both. But people who come up with this stuff do it not out of a sense of loneliness or fear of being alone with themselves: they do it to make a dollar. Pure and simple.

        I used to work tech as a software engineer. Maybe 5% of those people walked around in a feeling state. For the rest It was all about abstract problem-solving up there between the ears.

        • So what problem do these guys think they’re solving? (Serious question BTW.)

          If it’s turning a textbook into a Wikipedia-like resource, I kind of understand.

          But turning all entertainment experiences into social sharing can be counter-productive. Loud, snarky comments at home while the family is watching Castle is one thing, but I can’t say out loud or text the same snark to my best friend in South Carolina while I’m at the local theater without getting kicked out for disturbing the other patrons.

          As Matthew mentions below, loud, in-cinema snark is how Kindle highlighted passages feel to me. I can’t imagine it being done a hundred-fold like in Glouse. It would drive me batty.

    • Isn’t that the truth. I think a lot of people can’t deal with the voices in their own heads and need other people to distract them.

  4. Why does everything have to be social these days? (I think I’ll go read Quiet again.)

  5. If you could keep your group private, that would be okay (something like a business distributing a customer service textbook, then having their employees engage in discussion about what works and what doesn’t in actual practice). Also, if a specific person (a specialist in the topic) decided to annotate an ebook, I would like to see their annotations alone, without any other commentary. But the comments of random strangers on the internet? Why? So I can read how teh gay the author is? No, thanks.

    • There is no such thing as privacy on any internet-related program like this (Freudian slip: I wrote “problem” instead of “program”).

      If the data is there, it’s going to be stored somewhere. And used by someone.

    • Kindle has, or at least used to have, a similar feature that let one share highlighted phrases with other ebook readers. For a while, they used to post them on the product page for one of my books.

  6. I’m not sure I want to share every book I read. Some guilty pleasures are mine, and mine alone. Besides, this is why I review books at my blog, so I can talk about what I liked. I’ve learned the hard way not to put it out publicly that I didn’t like/couldn’t finish a book, and I’d rather not have someone pestering me about every book on my ereader. I already feel guilty enough about my to-read stack.

  7. I read to be anti-social, and I feel no shame.

  8. Yikes. Books are for getting away from (real) people.

  9. And here I was annoyed by the highlighting in my kindle books, which I (very quickly as in 10 seconds after it happened the first time) figured out how to turn off. I don’t even understand the mindset of the people who thought I might actually care that “37 other people have highlighted this passage.”

    This sounds like a nightmare.

    • I turned it back on again a few weeks ago to see if it would still annoy me.


    • Didn’t it just seem that the most popular of the highlighted quotes were banal at best? I didn’t realize at first that my comments were public and I said some very snarky things in my notes.

  10. It could be interesting, but annotating would interrupt the flow of reading a story (unless it’s a bunch of writers arguing over how good it is; there are a lot of people who think John Gresham is a lousy writer, and I’d be curious to know how they see him).

    But can you imagine the blood spilled over reading, say, Hilary’s “memoir”? It’d make YouTube commenters seem rational and calm.

  11. Actually, I’d like a good reading with a good way to share annotations on my e-readers, so that I can share /report typos easily to (self/indie/trad) publishers…

  12. This might be brought into wide use for schools. I can see my college kid sharing her annotations of THE REPUBLIC with the rest of her study group, sarcasm included.

  13. Oh, great. Just what I need. Another black-hole time-sink. It’s not enough — for some — anymore to simply read a book. Now they’ve got to comment, reply to comments, yada, and burn up even more of their irreplaceable time on Planet Earth.

    Not me. I already spend too much time here on TPV and other writer websites. Not even gonna go to the website, lest I be irresistibly temped… 🙁

  14. What is this, with people always wanting to turn something perfectly wonderful like reading into a group activity? bleh.

  15. I’m with more or less everyone else. This could be valuable for nonfiction books, particularly textbooks, both from direct effects and by providing feedback to the authors about what portions of the text were interesting and/or difficult for the students.

    For fiction? Forget it. I don’t want it intruding on my reading experience.

    (I guess the exception there might be if you were using a fiction piece as the topic of academic study, say in a college lit class).

  16. I know we Introverts are only 33% of the population, but somebody make the 66% leave us alone.

  17. Just stop it! Reading is not a social activity. Stop trying to make it into one.

  18. Yet another solution in search of a problem …

    This is that a$$hole behind you at the movies wisecracking and mouthing off while you’re trying to get into the plot.

    The ‘one’ way I could see this being useful is a writer looking for feedback on something they’re working on. And there are other apps out there that do that already. (I have a couple readers that will email me thoughts and corrections of my latest update. As they don’t know what others have said, they bring their own views to the table, where as seeing other comments might cause them to hold back their insight.)

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