Kobo 4.0 for iPad Introduces "Social Life" Features: Reading as a Social Sport

After years and years of fits and starts, the ebook industry has really taken off. The problem now is that we have too many e-reading platforms and mostly incompatible e-bookstores.

1. Amazon Kindle
2. Apple iBooks
3. Barnes & Mobile Nook
4. Borders (and others) Kobo
5. Google Books
6. Sony eReader

So, how can a ebook platform distinguish itself? Kobo which has free ebook reading apps for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, and even the Palm Pre is trying to set itself apart by having readers look at as a kind of social sport, a kind of literary long distance running with a social aspect. The update to their free iPad app includes new features that Kobo calls Reading Life.

Kobo 4.0 for iPad (iTunes App Store)

This grouping of features includes:

– Sharing Books and Passages
– Statistics: How many books they’ve read, pages turned, how fast they read, and times of day they read
– Awards and Rewards: Earned by reading progress
– Activity: Timeline of reading life
– Check-ins: This literary Foursquare-like concept is about checking in with characters and locations in the book
– Personal Book Cover

My guess is that these features many help retain existing customers and may attract a few new ones. However, people already comfortable with a particular ereading platform will probably not switch. That said, I would like to see the Statistics feature appear for the Kindle.