Avid readers are usually on the hunt for other like-minded souls. Here at PadGadget, the Steve Jobs bio is currently a hot topic of conversation. The newly released social reading app Subtext promises to let our staff share comments and annotations while we all read the book.
Within moments of downloading Subtext, and opening an account, I had a friend request from the app’s co-founder Andrew Goldman, who mentioned that he was also reading the Jobs biography. While it is not my M.O. to befriend strangers on the Internet, this seems like a good time to make an exception.
Goldman and Subtext’s other co-founder Rachel Thomas (who also sent me a friend request) come to Subtext from the gaming industry. Goldman and Thomas’ app boasts a slick UI that actually rewards users for participating. As readers comment and share within the app, they earn points to gain access to additional content from authors and experts.
Currently Subtext offers 18 books enhanced with author and expert notes, but users aren’t limited to reading just those books. The app organizes books into two types of shelves: featured shelves and friend’s shelves. Featured shelves are broken down by subject matter. The featured shelves have clever names such as “Quick and Juicy” or “Extraordinary Books.”
Tapping the “get book” icon saves the book to the user’s shelf. There are previews available for most books. Purchases are handled through Google books. Unfortunately price information is not available until you leave the app and go to Google check out. There are, however, also 18 well-chosen classic titles that are completely free to download.
In addition to leaving comments in the margins (tagged with a “spoiler alert” when necessary) users can answer questions, participate in polls or add links to Web pages. Subtext also supports dictation for those users that really hate the iPad’s keyboard.
Although Subtext is currently iPad-only, a web version is in the works. The 14-month-old company raised $3 million in funding from Google Ventures, Mayfield Fund, New Enterprise Associates and Omidyar Network.
Are you interested in reading with friends or even strangers? Will you give Subtext a try or are you looking forward to the arrival of Readmill? Let us know in the comments.