There are a number of platforms out there that let readers participate in “social reading,” which essentially serves as a virtual book club in which the readers don’t have to know each other to form thoughts and share ideas on a book. Anyone who opts into a particular discussion is allowing other readers to annotate their books, ask and answer questions, and more. While social reading is a great way to connect with others for a better understanding–and could have a potentially greater impact in educational settings, allowing students and professors to virtually discuss the readings, for example–so far it has just been a nice way to connect with other people who are reading the same book.
Now, entrepreneur/venture capitalist/author Brad Feld, founder of Tech Stars and the Foundry Group, has taken the idea of social reading to a new place, allowing those who connect through the title Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in your City, to have virtual meetings in Twitter-like conversations, share notes in the title, and forge business connections that could have real-world impact. This campaign, hosted by BookShout! and Startup America, will allow readers to follow Feld, AOL Co-founder Steve Case and Startup America CEO Scott Case, and other entrepreneurs throughout the course of their reading.
While the first three chapters of Startup Communities are free, the full book is available for $12.99 through the BookShout! platform. Startup America has plans underway to continue the growth of this SUA digital library and provide similar opportunities with future titles. BookShout! features 250 publishers and 100,000 books accessible via iPad, iPhone, iOS, Android or the Web, enabling users to share thoughts and notes across networks including Facebook and Twitter for a more engaging reading experience.