Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Should Books Be Social?

I read an article recently that waxed on about the potential plus or minus of books going social. I don't mean they're going to start trashing capitalism and looking to Cuba as the go-to country or anything. I mean in the eBook format.

If your reader has the capability now you can have running comments on the books you're reading, as if it were the main post in a forum and you can comment on it. Or live links in the text that, once clicked, will take you to a website. Basically the article is saying that books are the last bastion of antisocial elements and will, eventually, cave to all that is social media for the sake of keeping up.

Personally, as someone that still heavily favors your standard bound, one story per cover, spine-sniffing type of tangible book, I'm okay with books being antisocial (and I mean that it being antisocial within itself, obviously book blogging, Goodreads and the like makes reading exceptionally social but the act of reading itself is still a loner thing). I don't like reading with other people around and I especially don't want then hanging around my pages via the internet waiting for my every comment. I think there is such a thing as being too social. Not everything we do needs to have a social element to it. My book doesn't need to be wired in so I can share every slice of bookish life I have as I read. And I think the book is okay with being left in the dark since so many people still favor a traditional book (although eBook popularity is rising).

I'm not very hip on the whole social media thing to begin with. I'm just not that public of a person and, again, I don't feel the need to share everything with the world. So when I hear things about books catching the social bug I cry a little. Noooooooo! Not them too! I have no doubt it'll happen. But it doesn't mean I can't be cranky about it.

What do you think? Should books be more social (than what they already are)? How do you feel about a forum-esque commenting system within books on a wireless reading device? Or active hyperlinks within a text? Or just eBooks in general. Do you think we're sharing a bit too much?
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