The idea of build social activity around ebooks is starting to gather steam. We’ve recently seen Readmill launch as a kind of ‘Last.fm for books’. Now OpenMargin, which launched in beta at this year’s The Next Web Conference, has made its full public launch.
As we reported back in April, OpenMargin is a social platform designed to boost readers’ engagement in ebooks by letting them share notes and comments, fostering open discussion around titles. There are also plans to allow publishers to extend the life of their books by launching additional content within margins after the initial publication date. Authors or celebrities could provide their own notes for titles, creating additional value, for example.
The service is now available for anyone to sign up to, with a revamped website, while its iPad app is now available in the App Store for the first time. The iPad app is where books are read, with currently only DRM-free epub books supported. All comments and notes made are then collected on your profile, which others can access via the OpenMargin website.
Interestingly, rather than use the traditional model of ‘following’ other users, OpenMargin creates an ‘implicit network’ of people with a similar taste in books, making it easier to connect with like-minded readers.
While, like other startups in this space, Amsterdam-based OpenMargin’s appeal may seem slightly impeded by a lack of deals with major publishers, that’s not necessarily a problem. OpenMargin sees its vision as supporting a new generation of authors who want to connect directly with their audiences and may not even have traditional publishing deal.