Reading, by definition, is a solo activity and demands your complete concentration as well as a quiet space. The most special books have the power to pull you away from the world around you.
But the actual act of reading only represents half of the whole experience. The other part is a lot more social, and kicks in afterward.
What Is Social Reading?
Most of us, when we’ve finished a book, tend to share what we learned. We dive deep into hours-long conversations with someone who has also read the book. We pick our favorite quotes and post them on social media.
This concept, and its associated behavior, are called social reading. There are several benefits to being more social about what you read.
Social reading enables a community where you can connect with fellow readers, engage in profound discussions, share what you’re reading at the moment, discover excerpts you like, and gather insights on sections you’re stuck on.
Further, an active community inspires you to be more consistent with your reading habits. You can publicly set goals, participate in challenges, and seek recommendations. Social reading isn’t a new term, either. For years, it has existed in various forms, such as book clubs.
To get your started, here are the best social reading apps.
Bookself is an online community of readers and writers where every book has its own dedicated forum. Anyone can visit the page and share their thoughts with the rest of its followers.
You have the option to reach out to other commentators by sending them a private message. Bookself also recommends users and books based on your reading history and the genres you’ve selected.
In addition, you can browse active discussions and which books are trending on Bookself. Bookself can keep tabs on your books, as well. It lets you add books you found interesting to your wishlist and tell your followers what you’re currently reading.
What’s more, Bookself offers you the ability to establish your reading goals. Inside the app, you’ll even find both text and audio previews of a handful of books. Bookself embeds a purchase link if you decide to buy one.
Bookship is for building private virtual reading groups. All you need to do is pick a new book and invite your friends to join you on Bookship.
The app allows everyone to chat and talk about their progress through a handful of custom tools. There are built-in options for sharing your progress and requesting an update from all members.
You can share regular images of pages and excerpts, but Bookship also supports OCR. That means instead of pictures, you have the ability to directly send the page’s content.
What’s more, Bookship houses free ebooks of a range of classics. The app lets you read them right inside the app and highlight text to easily forward to the reading group.
Bookself helps you decide which book to read next by sorting a wide collection based on their popularity, critical reviews, topics, and release dates.
Glose is a social network for readers. It provides a personal feed where you can publish posts and view updates from the people in your friend list. The app hosts all the standard features you’d expect from such a social network.
But the reading feature is what truly sets Glose apart. Unlike the rest, Glose lets you read books on its app itself. You have the option to either upload your own ebooks or choose from the service’s catalog, which contains both paid and free titles.
Each book on Glose has a special page. In the Activity tab, users can check comments and passages others have highlighted. The reading interface also has a bunch of handy social features.
Glose shows the number of activities (like notes or reactions) associated with any line or paragraph. To leave your own, you just need to select a piece of text and tap the action you’d like to perform from the popup menu.
If you like the idea of Glose, you can bookmark words you’d like to share later using ebook reader apps that have great annotation features.
Goodreads is the most sophisticated social reading platform. It’s home to millions of readers and an endless database of books, reviews, and annotations.
When you first sign up for Goodreads, it asks you to create your virtual bookself. You can add the books you’ve read, titles you’re reading at the moment, and those you wish to read in the future. Based on this data, Goodreads recommends you new books and discussions to join.
Plus, the site has constantly updating challenges, trivia, and quizzes you can take. Being a social network, Goodreads allows you to chat with readers and follow their activity.
Since Goodreads is so popular, authors have an active presence on it as well. The site often runs sessions like Ask The Author, where anyone can pick their favorite author’s brains.
Due to its many features, the Goodreads app can feel a little overwhelming at first. However, once you get the hang of it, it’s a book lover’s paradise.
Zuster is a social reading app for web articles instead of books. It has a straightforward design that allows you to easily share and discuss stories with your friends. Aside from the mobile apps, you can add articles and comments on Zuster on your computer through its browser extension.
Zuster sports a quick-read option, which uses machine learning to extract and show you the most important bits from a post. Through the Activity tab, you have the ability to check what all your friends have been up to on Zuster.
At the time of writing, Zuster did not have an iOS app available, but the developer says it should be ready soon.
Read More Books This Year
These apps prove that reading books can be both an isolated and social hobby. You can use them to talk to like-minded people, share your thoughts on a book you’ve read, and make the activity a lot more productive.
However, it can be difficult to keep up with new book releases and discussions. Follow our tips on how to read more if you can’t seem to find the time to read everything you want.