Social Reading

2 minute read

Reading a book? $9.99 or so. 
Reading a book with a friend? Priceless.

So much of reading is solitary. But the shared reading experience binds us together in many ways, often unexpected.

Book clubs are one way to create this experience. As fun as they can be, they generally assume the group is all reading at the same speed, and are in the same location and can physically get together in the same room. And they assume a large group all want to read the same book together and at the same pace.

Today we’re introducing Readings. A Reading is a group of people reading a book together. It might be something informal, just you and a friend deciding to read a book together. Or something more organized like a book club. It can be a shared digital experience, with people you know but live somewhere else. Or someone you don’t even know! Kind of like Book Penpals. All you need is their email address (and someday we hope to remove that restriction).

With Readings, you can invite a group of people to read together. You can update your status, and everyone gets notified (“Hey I’m on page 100!”). Your status updates are private to the group of invitees. Or, you can engage in more substantive discussions right on the book page (note: in the first version, those discussions (not status updates) are public — again, a restriction we hope to remove in future).

Once a week you’ll get a reminder to update your status — that way you remember to keep reading, and your friends know how you’re doing and can razz you if you’re falling behind.

Right now, an old friend and I are reading The Three Musketeers together. He’s read it before — enjoying reading it again — and I get the benefit of his perspective. My son and I are reading Dune together. It’s one of the masterpieces of Science Fiction I’ve read a number of times, and I hope I have some thoughts to share with my son as he reads it for the first time. In each case, I’m physically separated from those folks, so it’s not a book club in the traditional sense. Just the sharing of a reading experience.

To get started, just find the book you want to read in The Hawaii Project. Hit the button called Group Readings, hit the Invite button, enter in the emails of your co-readers, and off you go. Everyone participating will need an account on The Hawaii Project. They can sign up at the home page.

Comments / feature requests wildly welcome.