Found via the E-Book Community mailing list: Wired’s “Epicenter” blog reports that New York app developer ScrollMotion has made deals with a number of publishers to launch popular books as stand-alone apps in Apple’s store. Titles will include popular children’s books such as Twilight and The Golden Compass.
Books as stand-alone applications are nothing new. The Wired article erroneously claims that the only stand-alone book apps currently available through the app store are public-domain titles, but others have been selling current, in-copyright e-books there for some time as well—including small-press published books and untranslated Masamune Shirow manga.
In fact, there are currently 33 pages of the “Books” category as viewed through the iTunes Apple Store—a number that desperately cries out for some subcategorization, especially if many more books from major publishers are about to flood into the store.
TeleRead coverage of stand-alone iPhone books include an interview with an app-book programmer, David Pogue and Lexcycle’s release of Pogue’s iPhone: The Missing Manual as an app-book, and of course Apple banning selected e-books from its store for use of the “F-bomb.”
If major publishers are going to start pushing their works as app-books, then Apple’s policies are going to need to undergo some major examination—or else publishers are going to have to get used to refraining from dropping the F-bomb.
It is also worth noting that the iPhone has a 148 app limit, which could cause problems for people who like to keep many apps and/or many books on their phones. David Rothman feels this could be a crippling restriction to people who like to keep many e-books on their phones. However, I disagree with him about the severity of the problem—most people do not read more than a few books at a time, and if it does become an issue Apple can always raise the limit.
For myself, I am more concerned that these books are not readable on any platform except the iPhone; if I buy an e-book, I would like to be able to read it on my iPod Touch if I feel like it, or on my PC, or even sync it to my old Nokia 770. App-books are locked forever to the iPhone, which is the ultimate dealbreaker for me.