Innovation That Matters

Free e-book streaming and sharing with ad support

Publishing & Media

Just as ad-supported sites like Pandora and Spotify let music lovers listen to and share their favourite music for free, so Spanish 24symbols is gearing up to do something similar for electronic books. Based in Madrid, 24symbols is a platform that lets anyone with an e-reader enjoy and share digital books using their browser. Users of the site can search for ebooks or browse through the myriad genres, nationalities and publishing houses represented, ranging from classics to new publications, comic books to technical tomes. They can also check to see which books their friends have read. Reading is free as long as the user is internet-connected thanks to the site’s advertising support, and users can write reviews or even highlight particular passages in a book before sharing it with a friend. They can also pay to buy a copy of the books they love, either by download or in paper format. With 24symbols’ ad-free subscription model, meanwhile, books can be stored in cache for reading even while away from an internet connection. 24symbols will reportedly launch first in Spain, followed by Latin America, France, the UK and Germany, and then the US and Asia after that. Subscription pricing has not yet been announced. Now that music distribution has settled squarely in the online world, it’s only natural that books should be next—particularly amid the tablet craze and as the e-reader market continues to hold its own. Time to bring a little free love to the book-loving masses near you…? (Related: Books for free by podcastBusiness books served in bite sizes for e-readersMusic site offers updated playlists in 22 genresThe world’s latest music, streamed city by city.) Spotted by: Leticia Pérez Prieto



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