Could “Books” be the new Facebook?

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You know when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg endorses a technology then it is time to sit up and pay attention. Media reports suggest that Zuck has gone on the record talking about his enthusiasm for “Books”.

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Books are essentially a medium through which ideas can be stored and shared. Each individual book, which is usually created by only a singular user is optimised for longform content and is usually based on a single topic. Each book – which can come in a wide range of different form factors – can only store a finite amount of content, and content can’t be edited after the fact – but experts agree that much as how Twitter has flourished thanks to the 140 character limit enforcing brevity, this limitation could be what makes books so successful.

According to Sathnam Sanghera from The Times, Zuck said:

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All signs point towards books taking off – whilst we usually imagine technology as a vehicle for shortform communications, such as a Vine or a Tweet, there is clearly an appetite for paying attention to one thing for longer periods of time, as is shown by the success of Netflix for boxsets, or World of Warcraft.

At the moment, the technology is clearly at an early stage. Save functionality is limited, and requires accessories (though “bookmarks” are widely compatible, in fairness), and if you choose to share a book, you’ll temporarily lose access to it yourself.

Still, if Zuckerberg is on board then that is a huge vote of confidence. To put it in perspective, it is the sort of boost that Kanye West’s young protégé Paul McCartney can surely only dream of.

James O’Malley