June 2, 2015 Last Updated 3:18 pm

Social sharing eBook platform Glose expands to Android

Platform emphasizes social sharing through annotations, allowing both publishers and readers to add content such as links, comments, and media to standard eBooks

The start-up social eBook platform Glose last week launches its first app for Android, Glose – Social ebook Reader and began making available to readers larger previews so that readers can discover and discuss with others books available in the service.

Founded by Nicolas Princen, Glose is a social reading platform for eBooks, allowing readers to not only discover, purchase and read eBooks, but also to engage with those books through sharing notes and other materials. Princen compares it to an online book club.

Glose-Android-iPhone-2“On traditional services, on existing bookstores and eBookstores, you go to the eBookstore and you either purchase the book or you leave,” Princen told TNM last week. “The option you have is to start reading a very small sample, which is a separate file from the eBook, that allows you to pre-visualize a scanned version of the book. It’s not really meant for you to read it, it’s more to let you know what it looks like.”

“So what we are launching is the opportunity for readers to read the first ten percent of any eBook for free,” Princen said. “When you get to the book profile you can purchase it or you can start reading the book for free. You don’t access some separate sample file, you actually start reading the real file, the eBook, and you can start annotating, you can start highlighting, you have the kind of experience that you have in a normal eBook.”

This annotating is at the heart of the Glose platform, which Princen first launched late last year with its website and iOS app. The idea is to allow readers to engage with their books and share notes and ideas – to socialize the reading experience.

“The significance of our platform is we connect eBooks to social media. No one has built a bridge between the huge audience that is on social networks and the space of eBooks,” Princen said.

“Where as music has been socialized, video has been socialized – you see people sharing clips from YouTube, you see people sharing their lists or tunes from Spotify and Facebook and so on – but no one has had an integrated the social experience in books. No one has built that bridge the books of the world and the Facebooks and Twitters of the world.”

“Technically it takes just one click on the book you’re reading to highlight a sentence and share it to Twitter,” explained Princen. “And when we share it to Twitter, not only do we copy the text in the Tweet but we actually generate a beautiful Twitter card which shows a blurred cover of the book with a beautiful quote on it that people just love to share and goes viral.”

While Glose is concentrating most of its efforts now on attracting reading customers, Princen said publishers should be interested in distributing through Glose because of the information publishers can derive from the platform.

“We share our data,” Princen said. “Amazon and Apple only give you sales reports. They don’t tell you who is reading the book, how many are reading it, how much of it they are reading. You pretty much don’t know your reader. We try to work hand in hand with publishers to create that kind of information, and insight.”

Prince-136The launch of Glose comes out of Princen’s experience as the first digital officer for the French government, serving as Director of New Media at the Elysee under French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“The thing I was most passionate about was the intersection of technology and education,” Princen said. “Originally what I wanted was to build was an education platform,” saying that most existing platforms concentrate on recording the classroom for online viewing rather than innovating the educational materials.

Unlike some new eBook services, Glose is still about eBook sales rather than a subscription model, concentrating on its social sharing aspect of the platform. Princen promises more new features in this area as the platform builds out services for authors.

But like other platforms, Glose is seeing a shift towards readers choosing mobile devices to read their eBooks.

“Thing are going more mobile, and as it does what we see it going more to screens, and less to E Ink readers,” Princen said. “There is a common belief, that I share with most of our competitors, that the number one reading machine of the future is the iPhone. A couple of years ago we were concentrating on the iPad, this was going to be the number one priority – but no, its really the iPhone that’s number one in terms of usage.”

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