DAILY NEWS Feb 26, 2009 8:12 AM - 0 comments

Indigo Unveils Digital Reading Service as e-Book Week Nears

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Shortcovers, a new digital destination developed by Indigo Books, goes live today with downloadable reading material for online and mobile devices.

Shortcovers gives anyone with an iPhone, Blackberry (Storm, Bold and Curve), or Google Android device access to books, magazines, blogs and related authors and biographical information.



Shortcovers also provides a unique platform for taking advantage of traditional and new formats. The service provides users with tools to share their favorite reads using a number of social media sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and others. The service also allows users to create, share and sell their works directly.



Reading material can be displayed in normal or horizontal mode, and even better, the app will provide font control to users, in terms of style and size of type being displayed.

Various navigation, sharing and social networking tools are also featured. You can comment on a book, Tweet about it, create bookmarks and favourites lists that can be shared with your social network.

Shortcovers is a division of Canadian-based Indigo Books & Music; the application itself was created by an in-house team of developers in Toronto.

“We are at a tipping point in the publishing world. People are reading differently--they are reading on screens, in more frequent, shorter sessions--and are accustomed to digital sampling services,” said Michael Serbinis, CIO & EVP of Indigo Books & Music. “Consumer behavior combined with the wide availability and popularity of high quality mobile devices inspired us to create Shortcovers, a destination where consumers can sample for free, purchase what they want, and read their favorite content on the go.”



eBook sales grew nearly 70 percent in 2008, with growth accelerating over 100 percent in the fourth quarter.



Digital book reading is on the upswing – in fact, there’s an official celebration of all things e-book.


Picking up on recent announcements about new e-book applications and reading solutions like Shortcovers for the Apple iPhone, or iPhone+Stanza, or the Amazon Kindle 2 and the Sony Reader, e-Book Week is now an international event.


(Shortcovers is a new digital ebook/ereading initiative from Indigo, with a soon-to-be-released iPhone app that lets people read books, short stories or other written works on their portable device.)


Held March 8 – 14 this year, e-Book Week is a not-for-profit initiative, organized by Canadian novelist and children’s author Rita Toews, who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


"The mission of Read an E-Book Week is to raise international awareness about the benefits of e-books to authors, readers, educators and the media," she said. “This year the week has exploded with interest.  We've received contact from major book publishers and software developers. Apps have now been developed to read e-books on phones and other hand-held devices.  Newspapers can be downloaded, and books, too - a chapter at a time - for that daily commute.”


Other sponsors and partners are listed on the event website; for more information, including details about online and in public readings, library displays, school visits, newspaper and blog articles, talk show appearances, Internet radio interviews and other e-book promotions, check out www.ebookweek.com.


Indigo Books & Music has leveraged their ongoing relationships with top publishers, such as Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, to offer consumers enormous depth and breadth of content, and has made thousands of current titles available through the service. Shortcovers goes beyond simply delivering eBooks – the company has used its extensive knowledge and understanding of the reading consumer, to create a rich and entertaining experience that addresses the significant shift in how people discover and consume their reading material today.  



Shortcovers is a global service. Consumers can buy in U.S. and Canadian dollars, with plans to expand later in 2009. A shortcover is the ideal read for consumers on the go. It’s an excerpt or chapter of a book; a blog post, magazine or newspaper article; or a short story, speech or user inspired work, like a subway novel. Users can read a sample for free, purchase a shortcover for as little as 99 cents or decide to buy the whole eBook, with an option to buy the hardcopy version as well.



The Shortcovers online and mobile services are free for customers to access and use. There is an abundance of free content available with options to purchase books, chapters where available, and other great content. New eBook titles are cheaper than physical books, and typically priced in the range of $4.99-$19.99. There is also a full library of free public domain books. Shortcovers is adding thousands of books per week and will rapidly expand their catalog beyond the top book publishers to include magazines and newspapers. Content subscriptions will be made available in the coming months. 


Shortcovers mobile applications for iPhone, Blackberry and Android are available at www.shortcovers.com/mobile. The Shortcovers iPhone application is available for free download in the iTunes App Stores worldwide. Other mobile applications will be made available on device specific App Stores once those stores go live. Shortcovers will be expanding their mobile application portfolio to include applications for Symbian, Windows Mobile and Brew devices, the Palm Pre, and other exciting new devices for reading. 



Indigo Books & Music Inc. is a publicly traded Canadian company and the largest book retailer in Canada, operating bookstores in all provinces under the names Indigo Books Music & More, Chapters, The World's Biggest Bookstore and Coles.



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