Toronto – Indigo Books & Music, Inc.  today announced the launch of Shortcovers, a new digital destination that enables people to discover and experience their next great read, on the mobile devices they already own. This new service provides consumers with an easy way to access 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. Shortcovers  is an integrated online and mobile service that gives anyone with an  iPhone™, Blackberry (Storm™, Bold™ and Curve™), or Google Android™ device, instant access to the newest books, hottest authors, and most popular magazines and blogs – as well as new content formats and user-inspired writings such as subway novels.
“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.”
What is a “shortcover?”
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.
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.
Publishing and Mobile Worlds Converge
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.
Pricing and Availability
Shortcovers is a global service. Consumers can buy in U.S. and Canadian dollars, with plans to expand later in 2009.
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 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.