Innovating the READING


KINDLEIt was midnight 3:00. The last of the campfires had extinguished. But there was a dim light coming out from one of the tents. First thought – must be the back light of a cellphone! Cellphones, these days, have long battery life. With power bank, the reserve capacity increases. It was Kindle. A ‘kindle’ in the dark from a Kindle Ereader!

The experience of book-reading has changed over the few years. From paper back edition to e-book, the world of books has seen several innovations. Have a look at the history of e-books and you will find that it started in 1930s! It involved people like Doug Engelbart, books like Hitchiker’s guide to the Galaxy and later companies like Sony, Amazon, PocketBook, Adobe,etc shaping it.  Well, I ‘m not going to take you through the History of eBooks. I will take you through certain ‘Innovations’ in this world; some already done, and some I have come up with. Rekindle your imagination with my ideas!

Bookmark bookmarks

A book purchased online from amazon, flipkart will get you a free bookmark. Funky, creative, colorful little pieces of plastic paper with quotes or facts written on it. But these funky bookmarks are limited to paperbacks or say physical copy. What’s in for ebooks? Nothing special except that bookmark icon. What if an ebook reader provides you with dynamic, creative and funky bookmarks like those you use with the hard copy? Definitely, it enhances your reading experience, especially when the reading goes boring. Now another question. What if you get a chance to create a bookmark of your own choice and use it while you read? Just like you get to choose how your facebook timeline looks, you can choose your template, design and add your favourite quote to it. Your bookmark is ready to feature in the ebook you read. The bookmark can be kept on the top-right corner of the reader, however it acquires a little more space than the usual ones. But it enhances your reading experience.

Fold your page

The traditional way to bookmark a page was to fold that particular page. Ebook Readers already allow page turning/flipping experience. An added feature and you get traditional reading experience.

Resale Value 

Physical books have resale value.This is one big advantage over electronics ones. Plus a physical book can be shared (borrowed/lend). Just like Kindle recently came up with borrow/lend option to friends for 14 day period, a similar feature may change the library world. However, Kindle is facing certain issues with sharing options because several sites like Lendle have come up with borrow/lend matching option.

What can be done is a common library be created or made available (in case of Kindle which already has one) to users, and user can look for secondhand options- as in a secondhand ebook. How does this work? every original copy bought from the platform gets the original tag which when sold gets a secondhand tag along with reduction in certain features like funky bookmarks, already inked notes from the previous user, etc. but at a price little lower than the original e-copy bought. This will create an “artificial physical world” of books. And people because of cheap price availability will avoid using pirated copies. Also, a pride of having original copy in the library will develop in the reading community. Similarly, pride of buying originals will also develop as the common library shows the reader’s library and reading habits. What will the platform gain? Obviously a secondhand ebook purchase/ sell will be mediated by the platform so the sharing brings in some percentage buck to the platform as well. Also, the transaction can be done with the price points the reader possess in his bucket/cart. This will ensure further transaction for the platform.

Vocab builder

Most E-readers are equipped  with Vocabulary builders and Built-in dictionaries. But what if you want to particularly focus on Vocab while you read. Such E-readers should come up with tests to check your Vocab knowledge the first time you begin using the device and then accordingly show meanings for the words you encounter on the page. With a click on the corner button,  you get the meanings of the word you may find difficult to understand on that particular page. This particular feature will however show meanings of those few words which it feels you may not know- it depends on the evaluation the feature does at the beginning. This evaluation can further be taken after some period when you feel you have improved in your vocab and then it evaluates and sets the level of the vocab you possess.

BookLiteLED

Talked too much  on digital innovations. Let me come back to paperback edition. Just like you can adjust the light intensity in a Kindle reader, tablet or a cell phone, leds come in handy for a paper book. Button cells fixed inside a funky small holder with a thin wire connecting an LED create a bookmark which can be used to increase light intensity falling on paper books. Such bookmarks (say BOOKLITE) comes to use while sitting in dim lights.

There are certain features which have already enhanced our reading experience:

-> Ink technology : available with commercial ebook readers; it doesn’t hurt your eyes with back light. 

-> Font adjustment

-> Text-to-Speech : from smart phones to tablets, the e-readers are equipped  with this facility. You  can plug in your earphones and hear the ‘text’. 

-> Portable Library with cloud facility

Hope someday I built these features to equip you readers with enhanced reading experience. Till then enjoy reading my long blogs with your limited features.

©Satyagni

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