Tag Archives: books

We need a virtual bookshelf

Kindle or audible?

That’s the question I asked myself two weeks ago. I wanted to get Tim Harford’s Adapt but didn’t want to wait for a hardcopy of the book to be shipped to South Africa. So I could either download it as an audiobook from audible.com or get the e-book from Amazon and read it using Kindle for PC. I ended up going the Audible route but bought this e-book because I wanted to try out both formats.

I’ve enjoyed both books, but there is one problem. I can’t put them on my shelf.

To anyone that collects books, albums or games, part of the pleasure of owning it is not just knowing what you have, but seeing what you have.  You want to be able to arrange it. You want to proudly display it to other people.

What’s needed is a virtual bookshelf app that people can put on their Facebook pages, tablets and desktops that will display all the books, albums and games they’ve bought online. Items on the shelf will need to be securely verified by vendors such as Amazon, Audible, Steam, GOG, Rhythmmusicstore etc. This will prevent users from displaying things they may like, but haven’t paid for, essentially a favourites list.

I’m not suggesting this because I want online vendors to be richer. The aim is to increase the exposure and income of independent writers, designers and musicians. A crucial feature of this virtual shelf is that it should display the date the item was purchased. This provides an incentive to invest in the work of new creators so that you can later win those “I knew about them before you” disputes with friends.

This week, I’d like to buy this album by goema punk band The Genuines. I’ve tried stores at the Waterfront, with no success.  If I buy it online it’ll just go into the Music folder on my hard drive with countless other albums I got from friends.

If I had a virtual shelf, that problem would be solved.


Credits: thanks to Johan for pointing out the early adopter incentive.