At CES 2011 we got some hands-on experience with the Copia e-Reader platform that is attempting to battle with the iPad and Kindle. The platform has free applications across both PC and Apple computers, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Windows 7 tablets and Windows Phone 7. The idea is to provide users with a way to download and read books without having to buy a specific device that is used solely for that purpose. Instead you can start a book on your computer, continue reading on your Android phone, and finish it on your tablet. The platform has books for purchase at competitive prices and also features a community feature that allows users to communicate with others about the books they read.
Working with the desktop application in person, we were impressed by the functionality of the interface and the amount of features and options already built-in to the system. Aside from just buying books and reading them, Copia has optimized the platform for reading enthusiasts and students alike. You can highlight passages, make notes about them, and even see what others have said about that same page in the very same book. Users can create groups or share notes and bookmarks with friends, making the platform ideal for study groups or friends interested in discussing each other’s reads.
The platform also offers optional social media integration. When I added a book to the reading list in the desktop application, a window popped up asking if I wanted to share the information on Facebook or Twitter. While the social sharing is intentionally limited, not posting to Facebook every time you make an annotation for example, the possibilities of social media sharing are intriguing for an e-Reader platform. For those consumers who would rather not add a reading device to their growing pile of electronics, Copia might be a good alternative.