A new startup called Ownshelf launched this past Friday. Ownshelf is a free web platform that allows users to share e-books, and to store e-books in virtual libraries. Using cloud storage, Ownshelf users can connect with other users, showcase recently read books, and borrow books from other users. Sharing e-books is something that other companies do not currently allow on a non-regulated basis. It is possible for Nook and Kindle users to share digital books with friends for a limited time, but Ownshelf users will be able to share digital books indefinitely.
There’s little doubt that the concept behind Ownshelf is a great one. However, one has to wonder how long Ownshelf will be in business before the company is slapped with lawsuits. After all, there are copyright laws to consider when it comes to the digital book. Even though owners of regular books can swap titles as often as they like, this is not the case with those who prefer digital books. Since the first digital book was created, laws surrounding the swapping of books have been erected.
Getting Around The Law
The developers behind Ownshelf have thought about the legalities of the digital book lending issue. The company has written a disclaimer on the site warning people not to share books that they do not own. You see, just because you purchase a digital book doesn’t mean that you actually own that book. There are some books, however, that are free for public use, and these books can be shared legally. Are Ownshelf users likely to stick to the “share what you own” rule? Probably not; and when users decide to swap digital books freely, Ownshelf might have a huge legal problem.
Sharing With Friends
In order to get the most out of Ownshelf, you have to have a lot of friends who use the service as well. Otherwise, you won’t have anyone to swap books with. Ownshelf developers have recognized this issue (likely to be a problem for everyone from the start, since Ownshelf is new), so public bookshelves are currently being set up.
Mashable reports that Ownshelf is also working with a celebrity in order to create a celebrity bookshelf (the identification of this celebrity is unknown currently). The idea here is for Ownshelf users to tell friends about the service, and, eventually, each user will have plenty of friends to borrow books from.
Right now, Ownshelf is in beta. If you want to join the Ownshelf community, simply visit the website and sign in using your Facebook account. From there, you can browse around the clutter-free site, add friends, share the site, and see what books are out there. Ownshelf provides an excellent way for people to share digital books.
When the first digital book arrived, attempting to find out what people you know are reading became difficult, and sharing digital books became even harder. Hopefully, Ownshelf will catch on with those who prefer digital books over traditional books. This way, you can expand your reading horizons and see what your friends are reading. Just remember, this site only works if you share with friends, so make sure to start socializing!