Today Kobo has launched an upgrade to their existing iPad app entitled “Reading Life.” You can share books being read, unlock achievements, track your personal reading history and even share it all on Facebook.
Kobo has been no slouch in the innovation department, trail blazing the way with a maelstrom of applications and unique user experiences. Aside from the two e-readers they released this year, the Kobo e-Reader and the Kobo Wireless, they also have they released e-Reading applications on all major platforms. Recently they updated their Android Kobo App which allows side loading of ebooks into its Android platform. That is to say if you have non-DRM ebooks in ePub format, you can use the Kobo App to read the books. A few months ago the Samsung Galaxy Tab was released and Kobo was in the thick of it all via their Readers Hub application. Today, they unveil a brand new social media experience via an upgrade with their Kobo application, available on iTunes.
There are some great elements to this new social media experience. First, you can share book passages and reading lists with friends and family. This would ideally be a solid way of starting a book club and then talking about specific passages and chapters. This element to the Reading Life application is similar to the Amazon Kindle, in the respects that while reading the Kindle you can tweet or engage in an status update while you are reading.
There is also a tremendous statistics aspect of the Reading Life social application, such as how many books you have read, how long it took you to read them, how many pages you turned, and even what time of day you normally read!
One of the most exciting elements to Reading Life is the rewards and achievement. Awards like ‘The Papillion’ which is earned by the power social sharers, ‘The Twain’ earned by those that read daily, and ‘The Witching Hour’ for readers who read into the wee hours of the night – once an achievement has been earned the reader can than publish and share with friends on Facebook. Award winners can also be rewarded with special offers from Kobo or its partners, just by reading!
Finally, there are some other elements to this app such as an activity panel which shows books completed, milestones and new books opened. You can also “check in” characters from ebooks you read. For example, readers reading Alice in Wonderland can check in with or meet Alice for the first time, or check-in to the Rabbit Hole and tell their friends on Facebook.
“People who are making the switch to eReading and building their lifetime libraries want an innovative social experience to go with it,” said Mike Serbinis, Kobo CEO. “eReading is going social, local and real-time with Kobo Reading Life, allowing us to create a fun, engaging and meaningful experience for our users.”
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.