Kindle Gets Public-er

I’m curious to know: other than the obvious institutional uses, does anyone actually get intellectual value from reading other people’s notes on the Kindle?

One of the features about the Kindle that I have long felt wasn’t developed to its full potential was the highlight feature. While you could choose to see which passages were the most often highlighted, you couldn’t really tell who was highlighting those passages, and you couldn’t opt to share your notes publically – say with colleagues or classmates.

Kindle is adding a “public notes” feature, that will let you make your notes and highlights available for others to see. You’ll be able to follow the notes of others – an interesting to see what others are thinking about a particular book or passage. This is another big move towards taking advantage of the technologies that can make reading more social.

Obviously, I like “social reading” insofar as it happens on blogs. But blog posting about books are very different things than marginalia, which hover somewhere between criticism and diaries. (So do blogs, but differently.) To put too fine of a point on it, they just seem too short to be of more than passing interest. This wee posting, for instance, is already much, much longer than any margin note I’ve ever made, Kindle or otherwise.



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