Reading is a very personal experience. But, as the popularity of book clubs show us, people love to discuss what they’ve read with others. Now, one of the also ran e-book providers is hoping to combine our love of books with social networking and make their service relevant in the process.

Kobo Inc. has recently updated its universal app of the same name. The newest version includes a section called Reading Life. It includes features, that could be game changers in the ever growing e-book reader marketplace.

Reading Stats is the most significant new feature. Here information about your reading habits is calculated and updated in real time. Statistics gathered include: total hours reading, pages per hour, and what percentage of your library is made up of books as opposed to newspapers, magazines, and PDFs.

My initial feeling, about having access to this information, was that it was interesting, but useless. However, after using it for a few days, my opinion changed.

Did I really spend seven hours in the past two days reading The Passage?

Wow, amazing stuff.

Awards helps celebrate fun milestones in your Reading Life. For example, you earn “awards” when you begin a new book, are reading late into the night or share a passage online with someone else.

It’s like the app always knows what you are doing and is praising you for it.

Finally, Book Cover gives a summary view of your Reading Life. Here you see little photos of books in your library, plus links to your current awards. The resulting cover can be shared on Facebook too.

Kobo’s social interaction is done exclusively through Facebook. At the very least, I hope they include Twitter in a future update.

Kobo’s new features are definitely worth a look. Who knows, they might allow the service to successfully compete with the market leaders; Amazon’s Kindle, and Apple’s iBooks.

At the very least, Kobo isn’t going down without a fight.

The free Kobo app is available in the App Store.