iPhone Apps: The ebook reader wars (part 4): Piecemeal Books

| January 29, 2009

If you've ever wondered what the heck those individual ebooks are all about in the App Store ? well, me too. So I took a look at one to see what the deal was.

Unlike readers, which stock a selection of works, these are stand-alone books with the software built in per title.

For example, when searching for ?book reader,? the Twilight ebook always shows up on the first page. The company behind this $10.99 product is ScrollMotion, who creates the ebooks on its Iceberg reader. I haven't tried out the app yet, but the specs look interesting. The company boasts that its technology ?replicates the actual experience of reading a book? with full pagination that matches its pulptastic printed counterpart. There's also pinching to resize text, which reflows automagically, text searching, notes and the ability to skim through pages.

I doubt every stand-alone ebook has all this functionality (which in the case of Iceberg, you really, really pay for at ? egads! $8.99 to $27.99 per title!), but the model is interesting. Instead of doing battle with multiple accounts or online bookshelves, the simplicity of using the App Store as the book distributor can be really appealing. And with an assortment of free or lower-cost titles already available, it may not be a bad way to go for people who just want a simple way to stay well-read.

So at the end of the day, it looks like the winner of the ebook reader wars is Stanza ? at least for me. But really, everyone has different preferences for how they like to read, and using these apps are no exception.

If you want a gorgeous interface for reading great works of literature, then Classics tops the list. An easy connection to a vast, already established library on eReader? Look no further than the native eReader app. Stanza works for me because of the huge selection and customizable features. But if you?d asked me back in my single days (when books were like dates, and I was commitment-phobic ? in multiple ways), I probably would've flinged with individual ebooks.

Things may be different for me in the future, when I have more disposable income, a different address from walk-intensive New York City, and a car to schlep things around in. Ask me then, and I?ll probably own a Kindle.

Do you have a favorite ebook reader that wasn't mentioned? I'd love to hear about it. Add it to the list in the comments below or in the forums.

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