Yet already a new service from a major bookseller, calling itself a “Kindle Killer,” is hoping to steal some of Kindle’s thunder. On Thursday, Canadian bookseller Indigo Books & Music is planning to launch Shortcovers, an e-book reading and buying program that works on devices such as the iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones, and in the coming months on other smartphone systems including Symbian and Windows, as well as on other gadgets such as the Palm Pre.
“We think the ability to use your existing device is definitely going to be a convenient aspect to the service, especially for a consumer that isn’t an avid reader,” said Michael Serbinis, the executive vice president of Shortcovers in an interview with this blog. Shortcovers says it will also distinguish itself with features that allow users to read the first chapter of books for free, as well as buy just single chapters of a book at a time. That could be helpful, for example, if you want just the chapter on one city in one of those chunky travel guides.
The service is clearly targeted at a younger, more attention-deficit afflicted reader, coming with the ability to share comments, create tags, and even Twitter while you read. “People are reading differently than they would with a print edition of a book. They are reading in shorter bursts, with higher frequency,” said Serbinis. “One eye is busy reading while the other eye is looking for authority, and context and relevance.”