I spotted an interesting story on NPR today: an introduction to BookGlutton.com, an interactive online ebook reader that allows readers to leave comments/annotations and chat with other readers. You can set your profile to show others what you read last, follow other readers, and manage responses to your comments on your profile.
Basically, it's Facebook but with books. Social reading instead of social networking. You get the idea.
Of course, because of copyright concerns, they can only offer books that are either part of the public domain, or have been approved for use on the site by the author and/or publisher. However, this also makes for a really awesome promotional tool for authors. For instance, the current featured article is offering the first four chapters of her newest book via BookGlutton. The obvious goal is to get people reading and discussing the chapters, get the word out about the book, and get people hooked so that they buy it.
The only downfall that I see is that it doesn't work with all browsers. In other words, it doesn't work with my browser. I'm apparently a dinosaur because I still prefer IE 6. I did try to upgrade once, but IE 7 crashed my computer so many times just in the first day that I restored my system's previous settings and never looked back. Heck if I'll make the same mistake with IE 8. And I'm not really a fan of cluttering up my hard drive with downloads, so I'm reluctant to download Firefox just for this one application. (I'm not a fan of that browser either, I'm afraid, so I wouldn't use it for anything else.)
However, I thought many of you — as writers and, it follows, also as readers — would appreciate a social bookreading site. If you try it out, either for reading or for marketing your books, please let me know what you think — since I can't try it out for myself!