Travis Alber aptly calls herself a publishing futurist. In 2007, she launched the social networking site Book Glutton which allows readers to chat and share comments while reading the same digital book in real time. Today the site has 140,000 monthly unique users. Her latest endeavor is ReadSocial, an app that connects people across books and magazine reading apps. So, the next time you’re reading one of David Denby’s favorable reviews of a Tom Cruise movie in The New Yorker and you want your friends to be just as outraged, leave your comments “in the article” at the exact paragraph of puffery and initiate a fun round of banter. Alber is also working on readups, a great site particularly for college students who rely on tablets and laptops to swap notes and chat in real time.
Alber recently told BookMachine her latest prediction: “The future of publishing will be social, mobile and DRM-free. All of these conventions are in play now, but the reason they will eventually dominate the landscape is that they mirror how people live their lives online. Using the web as a guide (it sets the standard by which we consume most digital content) we’ve grown accustomed to social, mobile, shareable content, with interoperability between systems, and worldwide, instant access to content in multiple formats. Those expectations will carry over to how we read our books.”