What is Subtext.com?

Is there one right way for reading to be social? We’ve seen some cool approaches, with new ideas all of the time. I think Subtext has one of the best approaches to social reading that we’ve seen recently:

“Subtext powers the first reading community in the pages of ebooks. With Subtext, you can engage in conversations with friends, authors and experts and access all types of information and multimedia in the margins of your books. The experience is the digital equivalent of sitting in your living room reading a book surrounded by your friends, the author and, if you’re up for the extra company, the most interesting people in the Subtext community.”

In theory, the notion of the shared online book reading experience sounds fine. Gizmodo (“Subtext for iPad: Reading Together Is Pretty Fun”) provides some details on how that might work:

“link up your Subtext account with Facebook and Google and Subtext will hook you up with your friends and their community. Subtext offers a lot of extra information about the book too, like commentary from your friends or from the author of the book or from experts, and they’re all within the pages of the book … It’s like interactive footnotes — comments, notes, questions, polls, links — that let you learn more than just what’s on the page”

Hmm. Interactive footnotes. The nice thing about such an approach means that it adds something to the reading experience, without necessarily taking too much away from the reading itself.

Not unlike Kobo’s Reading Life, Subtext is taking the gamification route, per AllThingsD: “Subtext Livens Up E-Books With Author Commentary and Social Reading

“Subtext’s founders come from the gaming industry and their hope is that readers will comment, endorse and share notes on the books themselves. For that participation they will be rewarded with in-app points to be spent on additional author and expert content.

Readers mark up books with comments, questions, polls and links to Web pages; they can dictate instead of typing; and they can mark anything with a “spoiler alert” tag. They can navigate books page-by-page like normal, hop around through annotations, and see what page their friends are on.”

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Here’s the Subtext iPad app on iTunes.

And can download the helpful Subtext-User-Guide (44 pages).


Surprise me


I run the ThinkLab at the University of Cambridge, and research digital habits, productivity, and wellbeing.

tyler shores cambridge

What I’m Reading Now:

Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg

Related Articles

Have questions or ideas or requests for working together?

Get in touch