24 Symbols – The New “Spotify For Books”
Do you sometimes find the Internet to be too much noise and not enough signal? Would you prefer to get stuck into a decent length book rather than read another random article you found on Reddit ? If you want to read e-books, where will you turn for new material? Kindle? Some other e-book app? Project Gutenberg ?
Finding the books is only half the fun. What if you want to recommend books to friends, see what your friends recommend and keep your reading in sync between devices? This is what 24 Symbols offers to readers, in an attempt to become the Spotify for books.
How 24 Symbols Works
For users, 24 Symbols is a free ad-based service or a subscription ad-free service. You choose whether you’d prefer the adverts or the monthly subscription fee, then get straight into reading.
So far, it looks like many of the books come from Project Gutenberg, yet there will be many more books added in the future. It’s still very early days for 24 Symbols at the moment. Authors and publishers are welcome to approach 24 Symbols about offering their works via the application.
The interface is easy to use and quite sharing-friendly, so most users would feel very comfortable using this to read novels and share recommendations with friends.
Users can sign up with a newly-created login or with Facebook Connect. If you make your own account, you can connect it to Facebook later in order to search for friends on 24 Symbols.
Reading Books With 24 Symbols
Since 24 Symbols is available online and via a number of mobile apps, you have the convenience of being able to put together a reading list on one device, while using another device for reading later.
You can create your reading lists by favouriting certain books or by placing them into folders created by you. Just browse through new releases and book genres, dragging books into the folder you want them to appear in.
Browsing the books is quite a pleasant experience, with the user able to choose whether to view categories by book cover or titles, plus featuring a few popular book covers in a separate panel. Searching books is also available.
When you are in the mood to actually read the books, your lists will be ready and waiting for you on whichever device you choose to read them on. 24 Symbols does not download the books to your device, so it’s not suitable for offline reading. But for those of us with Wi-fi or 3G access, this won’t be much of an issue.
How Does It Compare To Other E-Book Readers?
The main difference most people notice is in the concept itself. While bigger e-book providers are offering e-book readers which charge a subscription and make subscribers view adverts, 24 Symbols offers readers a choice between adverts and subscription fees.
24 Symbols still has a long way to go in terms of building a collection worthy of a subscription fee, yet this will come with a few modest publisher deals.
So, tell us what you think of 24 Symbols. Will you use the free version of 24 Symbols or a different free e-book reader? Or would you prefer the subscriber option or a different paid application? Why or why not?