September 29, 2011, 5:09 PM

Kobo’s new social tool tabulates readers’ views of e-books

Customers can monitor and interact with others who are reading or commenting on an e-book.

Lead Photo

Kobo readers can use Pulse to share their book likes and dislikes.

E-book reader and content developer Kobo Inc. is adding social features that enable readers to monitor interest in a given book, and exchange views on a book’s content.

Kobo, a unit of Indigo Books & Music Inc., No. 177 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide,  announced its new Kobo Pulse platform at Facebook’s recent F8 Developers Conference. Kobo Pulse indicates what the company calls the level of social engagement for a given book, driven by how many people are reading or have read it, what they are saying about it, and what they are thinking.

The number of readers for a given book, their volume of comments or whether they like or dislike a book are depicted on a pulsating icon at the bottom of an e-book’s page.

Pulse and Kobo’s social tool called Reading Life also integrate with Facebook. Pulse users’ activity will show up in the new Facebook Ticker,  and readers’ Reading Life book choices and libraries they can share with other Kobo users will be reflected in their Facebook Timeline.

Kobo’s Reading Life launched in December 2010 and enables customers to track such statistics as minutes per reading session and total pages of their current read, see an overview of books they have completed in their library, and share books or passages in them with friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Ticker is one of the features Facebook unveiled last week. It appears on a consumer’s Facebook page and is a running feed of what a Facebook member’s friends are doing. Timeline is Facebook’s new version of the member profile that gives users a multimedia forum for their biography.

“With Kobo Pulse we are capturing the zeitgeist of every book in the world, and enabling readers to be a part of it, to contribute to the life of the book—while reading,” says Michael Serbinis, Kobo CEO. “This is a revolution in books and how we read that will give readers exciting new ways to connect, discover content and express themselves.”


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