eBook On An iPhone: One Example

First Looks: AppEngines ebooks

The Unofficial Apple Weblog looks at those ninety-nine cent reading-software-included public domain eBooks from AppEngines.

I’ve swiped these three screensnaps:

Click on the link to read more.

Odd, they don’t mention being able to rotate the screen.

There are now well over one hundred eBooks at the iTunes Store.

Are you people publishing on paper paying attention?

Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Other, eBooks, Tech - Apple

5 Comments on “eBook On An iPhone: One Example”

  1. ramin Says:

    There’s something annoying about having to buy and install the same e-book software with every copy of their books, but there are three main reasons why they have to do it this way:

    1. The way the AppStore is set up today, you can not purchase and download an application then at a later time purchase an ‘add-on’ to that application and install it in the same application directory. Until they support that as a feature to the App-Store, it’s not commercially viable to support extensible apps. This includes add-on levels for games, user-installable plug-ins, templates, or e-book files — unless you want to do it outside the AppStore e-commerce service. And right now, it’s not clear if Apple will even allow this (since they won’t be getting their cut of the transaction if the user is shunted elsewhere).

    2. There’s also the technical matter of allowing these add-ons to be installed in the same directory as an existing application. Right now, every AppStore download is ‘sand-boxed’ so it can’t trample another application’s data. Download something else off the AppStore and it gets its own directory. No way to say ‘download A and put it in the same directory as Z’ without risking opening up a whole can of worms. There are ways to do it, but it has to be done carefully and Apple just hasn’t gotten there yet.

    3. Lastly, Apple wraps applications in DRM. This is done to discourage software piracy and also to create a ‘chain’ from the software publisher all the way to the phone, so if an application misbehaves they can track down which app did it. To support e-books that you can download, they’d have to support DRM wrapped around text or data files — something which is doable, since that’s essentially what they do with music.

    The AppEngines guys figured out a clever way to get around these issues by wrapping e-books inside a reader app then registering and selling each as a separate, licensed, application. Not the most efficient way to do it, but practical given current restrictions. The problem they’re going to get into is that each time they update their e-book engine, they’ll have to re-release each and every single book ‘application’ to the AppStore which means having to update every single one of your installed e-books. The other thing you don’t get is a way to manage all the e-books in your library, since each book is a separate application.

    The other option is to sell an e-book engine once but then make every add-on book be a free download accessible from inside the iPhone app itself (so it can download the data file into its own directory). A little better and good for public domain books, but not a sustainable option for commercial publishers.

    My hope is someone like Amazon will decide it’s a good idea to extend the Kindle model to the iPhone (and still make money). It’s technically (and legally) difficult given the current iPhone SDK/App-Store restrictions, but it would be the best long-term solution to getting e-books out to iPhone users.

  2. mikecane Says:

    Yeah, I thought about all that too. Clever people, those AppEngine guys. Eh, for 99-cents a book, and public domain text at that!, I doubt they’d put much more effort into the readware. It all has an opportunistic air about it — which, of course, means I’m jealous. Ha!

    I’m getting closer to how Apple will do ebooks. I hope to do a post about it soon. Still some more research to do. And since I am lazy, I will probably wait til Saturday’s probable Apple Store visit for that research.

  3. mikecane Says:

    Oh: And ain’t noway nohow Apple will let Amazon sell Kindle books through iTunes. MobiPocket, yes (which is owned by amazon). Kindle? No.

  4. Cliff Burns Says:

    Everybody using different formats, competing business interests but ALL will make sure contemporary, living authors will get as little compensation/remuneration as possible. Have to admit, the on-screen text doesn’t look TOO awful (in some cases). But I wonder if gadget geeks are, in reality, the type of people who are dedicated, passionate readers. I will look forward to seeing numbers in terms of downloads of books compared to music and movies. Are the Kindle and IPhone folk “real” readers who will use the service or are they just big kids with a shiny new toy they’ll soon tire of…

  5. mikecane Says:

    Cliff, if you’re still hanging around, see:


    Just let me tell you that if what I’ve discovered is correct, this will be THE BIGGEST THING EVER FOR WRITERS. You too will LOVE it.

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