For the past several years, social reading has been an undercurrent of the possibilities of digital publishing and ebooks. A number of companies have been launched since as early as 2010 to encourage readers with tools that make it easy to share in the discussion of a book across their social networks–and even with strangers–within the digital pages of a book. Companies like Copia have kept the focus more squarely fixed on the educational opportunities that social reading presents, such as allowing students around the world and professors at different institutions to all come together within the ebook to foster discussion and understanding; at the same time, companies like Readmill just enjoy the possibilities of connecting readers of fiction titles in what amounts to almost a virtual book club.
Now, Hong Kong-based self-publishing platform Towerbabel is furthering not only digital reading and enjoyment of ebooks, but has built its platform to also be a collaboration tool for authors, editors, designers, and artists, while also helping participants engage in social writing. The platform enables different writers to all participate in the same story, an especially intriguing idea for alternate ending and science fiction fans.
“Ebooks shouldn’t just be a retelling of text,” explained Anthony Chan in an interview with Good e-Reader. “More interactive storytelling can happen in an ebook.”
Through Towerbabel’s 30,000-strong user base and social media reach, a number of stories have already been drafted with the help of collaboration. Of course, readers are also welcome to discover single-author books to read, and authors are invited to submit their stand alone titles through the platform. For those who want to experiment with the collaboration, the write pad tool is available through the platform.
When looking at how a process such as this one compares to a well-known and heavily trafficked site like Wattpad, it’s important to remember the intention. Wattpad‘s newest update allows readers to discuss authors’ works while they are still in progress, but the major focus is still connecting readers and writers; Towerbabel is looking to actively build writing and publishing collaboration in one secure location.
“We built a writing pad on our platform and we’re getting a following from more and more authors as we foster collaboration. We want to focus on these collaborations to let people work out the book together and let different writers co-write a book.”
Mercy Pilkington is a Senior Editor for Good e-Reader. She is also the CEO and founder of a hybrid publishing and consulting company.