Reading books on the iPhone has been seriously competing with used bookstore paperback purchases for my scarce non-work non-family attention, largely with post-copyright (ex. harry harrison, poul anderson) and creative commons science fiction (ex. rudy rucker, cory doctorow), available from Feedbooks, consumed with Stanza.
I recently purchases William Gibson’s “Zero History” Kindle edition for the iPhone and read through a hundred pages, ocassionally encountering underlined sections but not giving them any attention. When a particularly Gibson zinger was highlighted, I tapped: “Some very considerable part of the gestural language of public places, that had once belonged to cigarettes, now belonged to phones.” … 56 other people highlighted this part of the book.
You can read this annotation, and copy paste as I did, from Amazon’s top highlighted page for this book. Suprisingly, this content is not available from the Zero History product page (book or kindle), as it seems to me to complimentary to, and more impartial and informative, than many reviews. These sections form the same kind of human smart summarization that link text (e.g. the text inside hyperlinks) provides for web search engines.
Trompsing through top highlights is rewarding for popular titles like Freaknonomics and “outliers: the story of success”. This use case looks to be specifically not supported by Amazon, so you’ll have to use precise query syntax, rendering results for short titles like “Blink” a mess — adding the author name to the query cleans the results up.
So how’s the book? Good, if a far cry from his intensely futuristic cyberpunk roots, with the iPhone playing such a critical role that when the MacBook in play was identified as an Air, it seemed like Apple should be paying for the product placement!