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24symbols, the “Spotify for eBooks,” releases iPad app

by Joe Murphy Librarian on August 8th, 2011
24symbols app icon

The social cloud reading product out of Madrid, 24symbols, released an iPad application recently. Here are my thoughts on the app.

Context:

Cloud reading, a sub trend of digital consumption of textual content, is growing along with its music and movie counterparts (Spotify/iCloud, Youtube/Netflix etc). Its social features illustrate how sharing of textual content should look.

http://www.24symbols.com/
App link http://itunes.apple.com/en/app/24symbols-para-ipad/id448330677?mt=8

The “Social reading” app 24symbols http://www.24symbols.com with an informal mission statement of “free books for everybody” allows users to stream its thousands of available books or download for offline reading with paid subscriptions. 24symbols, and its iPad app, mark a significant stage in the entre of ebooks beyond the major players into the megatrend of cloud content.

The new app, released early on July 27, provides a basic but pleasant reading experience to match its web browser reader. It provides options for customizing the font size and type as we have become accustomed to with iBooks and the Kindle app etc. Browsing and turning pages within the books is very quick and smooth for a cloud reader. Books include page #s, bookmarking, user friendly table of contents, and a decent swipe to turn pages feature.

Available subscription tiers include Freemium and three levels of Premium paid access. Users can read all of 24symbol’s selection completely free of charge streamed online or via the mobile app with some advertisements with the default Freemium model.  The Premium subscription model allows you to read offline free of ads and make use of the advanced functionalities. Premium subscriptions cost €9.99 per month, €19.99 for three months, or €59.99 for a year’s access. Note the conversion rate, even the dollar’s current performance makes this a pretty good deal.

Sharing snippets of text from the browser product on Facebook is a smooth experience for socially engaging content. Posts include the title of the book that you are quoting, a link to the book, and the selected text in an editable field with the header “synopsis” to designate that is not an original quote. There is also the option of adding a note to your post and a thumbnail of the book’s cover. This is how social sharing of textual content should look like.  Sharing snippets on Twitter includes the selected text in quotation marks, a link to the book in 24symbols, and an @ reply to @24symbols signifying that the snippet came from this product.  The service includes one level of privacy by choosing if your folders of selected books are public or private.

24symbols’ small but strong team has built an expanding network of partner publishers. How many books does 24symbols make available? The company hopes to make 20,000 titles available by the end of the year. I am awaiting a response from company representatives about this as well as future plans for applications on other mobile platforms.

24symbols is one to watch as cloud reading continues to disrupt publishing.

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One Comment
  1. Joe Murphy permalink

    24symbols has added an HTML5 mobile version for Android and iOS – December 23, 2011

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