Mark my words: a new e-book feature

Paul Ingraham e-books now offer a slick little bookmarking feature — one the best features of “traditional” e-books that I haven’t been able to offer until now. My e-books are basically just big ol’ web pages behind a paywall. This format has some terrific pros and a few cons. Chief among the cons? No bookmarks! What kind of book can’t be bookmarked? That’s just crazy talk! This has been one of my only common customer gripes, and I don’t blame them.

Like most “simple” things, it’s not so simple under the hood. But after launching without fanfare yesterday, it has been working just fine for customers so far.

I’ve known for ages that bookmarks were possible, because modern websites can do damn near anything. The trick is getting a feature like this to work smoothly for everyone, even people who’ve never read any kind of e-book before. That was a tall order. And so now has another feature that is surprisingly unusual in the world of publishing, and in some ways more sophisticated than Amazon’s bookmarking feature for Kindle books. As with my footnotes and bibliographic management, I’ve never seen anything else quite like it. Instead of a “furthest read” bookmark (like for Kindle), it’s a “last read” position — far better for books that encourage jumping around. Every book remembers where every customer left off. It doesn’t matter whether you load it on a phone or an iPad or your PC at work. There are no settings or preferences; users don’t have to do anything. It just remembers your last position, offers to take you there, and then scrolls to that spot. (I love the scrolling bit.)

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