Try Social Reading!

September 23, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Wouldn’t it be great if reading an eBook was as simple as listening to music? With an iPad, Kindle or any device with a Kindle app, there are similarities, but many people have discarded iTunes and other MP3 players in favour of online services such as Spotify, where music is essentially free.

Anyone offering free books on a similar ad-supported model would be likely to make quite a bit of headway in the eBook hosting market and certainly raise awareness of what they’re doing.

So keep an eye open for mention of the new service from Described as a platform to read eBooks on the Internet, like Spotify it is also a social application, encouraging people to read together and leave feedback on the title.

Try Social Reading!

Currently available in your browser and for iPad, an Android version is apparently in the works. Offering a library of 1000 books from classic public domain works to some commercial releases, you can choose between the free ad-supported version or one of the paid options (available monthly, quarterly or annually).

Signing Up for Free EBooks

To use 24 Symbols you will need to visit the website and sign up or sign in. A standard signup/login is possible, or you might use the Connect through Facebook option.

Once signed in or signed up, you will be presented with a selection of book titles. Some of these will be new; some will be foreign language, but others will be old books that you will be aware of from school or cinema, such as Pride and Prejudice, Sherlock Holmes and Dracula.

Selecting a book will display its profile on the right-hand pane, where you will see a summary. There are several tabs to switch between in this view, including a chapter list and it is here that you can begin reading a book by selecting the appropriate title.

If you have paid to use the service from 24 Symbols, you will notice that the reading experience is ad-free. Otherwise, you will see adverts appearing down the sides of the page you are currently reading.

More Free EBook Features

There is more to 24 Symbols than reading classic novels. If you signed up via Facebook then you can start using the service to share your reading with friends and family, although note that this will permit access to your Facebook contacts and feed for the 24 Symbols service.

Additionally, you will find that the service recommends titles to you based on books that you have already read. For instance, if the first book you open is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, clicking the Recommendations button might list Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year as a book that you should read next.

The full catalog list offers the choice to search books by category, author and language, while a search box at the top of the page offers full search functionality.

All in all, 24 Symbols are offering  good, solid service with an impressive UI, and if you’re interested in reading then you should certainly check this out.

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