I’ve discovered my new favorite ebook reading app, developed by Tencent, based on WeChat: 微信阅读 (it may be translated into something like WeChat Read in English).
What’s WeChat? It is a powerful social networking app, probably the most popular now in China. To some extent, it’s similar to Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger. You can connect with your friends and acquaintances, share moments with each other.
Sounds like Facebook? It’s much more than that. It’s like a Messenger-based Facebook (because its main interface is chat), plus a brilliant blogging subscription system, and shortcuts to certain services like banking and shopping. It’s a big ecosystem.
微信阅读 was developed based on the social aspect of WeChat, connecting all the WeChat users using books.
Let’s say I’m browsing the book catalog to see what I’m interested in. I can see what books my WeChat friends are reading at the moment, how much percentage they read. I can also see all comments from other WeChat users who have read those books.
Then, I see a book called ABC, which is being read by my best friend Amy. I check out a few pages and decide to purchase it.
As I scan through the pages, I can highlight text and add my comments to that highlight text, or to that page I’m reading. My comments are shared to all WeChat users — not limited to my friends — whoever is reading or will read this book. They can “Like” or “Comment” my comments, and I can interact with theirs as well.
As I read my books, I can track how many hours I read this week and compete with my WeChat friends, who also read books in 微信阅读. The more your read, the higher rank you get in the leadership board. For example, Yanbin has topped me since he started using this app, this kind of encourages me to spend more time on reading.
If you think about it, it’s kind of book reading & sharing interactions are NORMAL — “of course I want to share books with my friends and other people, and know what thoughts they have while reading this book”. Before, we only had book clubs and book sharing events; now, finally in this digital age, we have 微信阅读, and it has pushed book reading & sharing to a scale that’s so much larger and awesome.