Article in eReaders & ePublications, Companies, Mobile, Startup, Art, App Review, iPhone, iPad categories.

ReadMill: a New Chance to Keep Connected Through Beautiful Literature

When books and sharing platforms fuse we get charming concoctions. ReadMill, one of those conconctions, happens to hit a sentimental nerve. The startup, based in…

When books and sharing platforms fuse we get charming concoctions. ReadMill, one of those conconctions, happens to hit a sentimental nerve. The startup, based in Berlin, is a social eBook community for readers that desire a simple way of sharing their acumen on inspiring books. The app allows you to share quotes, commentary, and recommendations regarding your favorite books  through social networking mediums such as Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

For those of you that become a bit forlorn when realizing the ending of the semester is coming and subsequently passionate classroom book discussions, ReadMill should make you crack a smirk. How effective could it be in bringing both the world of good literary discussion and electronic convenience together? When a string of words or a chunk of text reach out and strum the strings of your emotions it is not difficult to impulsively express admiration to a group of like-minded users that will acknowledge your thoughts. All you have to do is highlight the quote you really like and then share away. Every quote you share will receive commentary to which you have full viewing access. One of the more unique aspects of ReadMill is the fact that once you've purchased and loaded a book into the app you can read it along with commentary authors have chosen to add into their work. This supplements the eBook reading experience with an extra introspective dimension: What is the meaning behind a particular metaphor? If an author has chosen to provide commentary, you can now have access to it.

One of the critiques ReadMill has gotten thus far is the notion that a constant stream of comments would distract from close, attentive reading. And of course one of the largest arguments against this app is the notion that the Internet has already managed to interrupt our attention spans. But founder Henrik Berggren has addressed this critique by pointing out that the reading experience will not be ruined; when you do not wish to see comments any longer, all you have to do is swipe the comment box away, and voilà, its gone. One is able to both read and interact with content in a way that hands control over to the reader.

This idea is relatively unprecedented and provides a huge possibility to add a rich social layer to the age old ritual of book discussion. ReadMill is available through many eBook readers including its own iPad app. Berggren reports that they are making money by providing analytics for published and content owners to show where their books are being read in addition to how they are being read. ReadMill is ultimately all about marginalia, our need to engage with and respond to text through the zealous form of scribble wherever possible. It will be exciting to see whether or not this social app will be received as frivolous or significant. There is something very moving about being able to percolate insight with an audience beyond the expensive classroom setting or on the surface of a sticky note and instantly share inspiration stemming from the art of literature with friends with a few clicks and swipes.

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