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The Open Bookmarks Checklist

This list is a guide to help readers get the most out of social reading, and help publishers and developers make social reading easier, more personal, and more open.

For readers

  • Ebooks you've bought should belong to you. You should be able to save them, move them around, and read them on a variety of devices.
  • You should be able to bookmark your place in the book, make notes and select and save text.
  • You should be able to save these marks separate from the book itself.
  • You should be able to share your bookmarks on the web, with social services, via email, and other methods, however you made them, if you want to.
  • Your reading should be private and personal, if you want it to be.
  • You should be able to import the reading experience into books, platforms and devices, yours and others'.

For publishers

  • Ebooks should be made available in as many open formats as possible.
  • Ebooks should be ownable; once sold, they belong to the reader.
  • Ebooks should allow sharing, lending and open distribution.
  • Ebooks should allow text selection, quotation, and bookmarking.
  • Reading should be private, with no tracking without readers' explicit permission.

For developers

  • The reading experience belongs to the reader, not to the service.
  • Reading services should be transparent, and explain how they work to the reader.
  • Ereaders and social reading services should allow readers to save and export their reading experience.
  • Ereaders and social reading services should allow readers to import their reading experience from other readers and social reading services.
  • Ereaders should allow readers to use any social reading service to enhance their reading experience.
  • Social reading services should allow readers to use any ereader platform to enjoy their reading experience.


This checklist has been created in consultation with authors, publishers, readers and developers.

The guiding principles of the checklist are: anything you can do with a book, you should be able to do with an ebook, and anything the reader does—the reading experience—belongs to the reader, to do with as they please.

Not all of these goals are immediately achievable, and they should not be taken as cast-iron rules. Some are "must haves" and some are "nice to haves". They are principles, and we should work towards making them accepted.

There is a glossary of terms used on this site available.