In an article on the Quill & Quire Quillblog, Stuart Woods writes about the recent investment made by Rakuten – the Japanese parent company of Kobo – in Pinterest to tie in social-based media with the content and social reading tools that already exist on the Kobo. Since taking over Kobo, Rakuten has expanded internationally and developed many of the Kobo functions such as the Reading Life app; now it is time for them to further enhance the experience of reading. But is it really necessary?

As a Kobo user, I can honestly say that I have never felt remotely inclined to highlight sections of my eBooks or post comments on my reading via Facebook and/or Twitter. This is primarily because there is often no Internet service while I read on the subway, secondly because of the limited Internet capabilities of the Kobo, and thirdly, I’m not quite sure how to do it. Would talking to strangers about what I am reading enhance my experience? I’m not so sure. With that being said, I am also a frequent visitor to the Pinterest website, however have not taken to pinning anything myself.

During a presentation in my New Technologies class at Humber College as part of the Creative Book Publishing program, a classmate mentioned the trend of readers “pinning” book covers that they enjoy reading, which is in some ways a marketing tool to reach new readers. I feel it is significant to acknowledge the market that these pins are reaching: primarily females, presumably in the 20-45 year old age category. A lot of these women are probably readers, and so it is good to promote new books among existing readers. Will the partnership increase sales to new groups of readers? It is impossible to tell. Perhaps through the synthesis of Pinterest with Twitter and Facebook this concept holds more promise.

“A book cover is a visual hook for a book no matter what format you are reading it in,” explains Nathan Mahraj in his comments that have been added to update this article. While this is true, covers appearing on a Kobo reader are black and white due to the restrictions of e-ink on the readers. The cover as a “visual hook” loses its eye-catching colour and appeal when advertised on the Kobo screen. The association of the full-colour Pinterest pin to the black-and-white version on the Kobo may or may not translate. Regardless, I am curious to see where this partnership goes.

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