Are you sitting comfortably? Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was an amazing app named Readmill. It began on iOS, providing a beautiful way of reading, sharing highlights from your ebooks with friends and keeping your devices in sync. It began to gather users, and even made it to Android. But then, it was acquired by Dropbox, and many bookworms were very sad. But now, a new service named Glose seems to be offering a similar experience once again.
Enough with the creepy fairy-tale language — the bottom line is that this app is a neat way of reading ebooks. After downloading the app, you are offered a selection of titles based on your inputted preferences. Some are free, while many are purchasable — a key difference between Glose and Readmill — and there’s a searchable store at hand when you want to expand your personal library further. At this early stage, some books are only available via Glose’s web viewer, but no doubt such restrictions will start to lift in time.
The reading experience is not the most flexible I have encountered, providing only two font sizes as methods of adjustment. The chosen typeface is clear to my eye, though, and unlike iBooks, page-turning is smooth.
However, the key feature of Glose is social annotation. Tapping on any paragraph instantly highlights it. These sentences are then saved, but you can also add your thoughts as annotations, which show up on the pages of your fellow Glose readers, or you can send them to Twitter and Facebook. Equally, you can see what others have highlighted as you read through a book, should you so wish — the options are to view everyone’s input, just that of your friends, or none at all.
In app terms, Glose is still a toddler, with many steps yet to take on the way to becoming a grown-up, full-fledged service. The early signs are promising, but there are things that need fixing; the one-touch method of adding highlights is great, or annoying, depending on your intention (although erroneous highlights can be removed relatively easily). More display options need to be added, and a whole lot more books need to be available on all devices. The upcoming Android app will also be very welcome.
For now then, Glose is not the very best reading experience available, but getting started with it soon may prove rewarding as the platform progresses.