Shortcovers: A Bookstore in my iPhone?

Indigo Books and Music Inc. is moving aggressively into the booming e-book market tomorrow (February 26th) with the launch of a new service called Shortcovers. The new service will take Amazon’s Kindle e-book combo headfirst by allowing users to buy and download e-books to their wireless smart phone or computer via the Internet similar to what iTunes accomplished with music.

“It’s like having a bookstore in your pocket – and more,” Michael Serbinis, Indigo’s vice-president of information technology, marketing and online business, said this week.

“They’re reading as much, if not more, and they’re doing so on screens as well as [using] physical books. When they’re on-screen, they tend to read in shorter bursts and more frequently. There’s this whole notion of ‘info-snacking,’ of leveraging downtime – that time when you’re waiting at Starbucks for a friend, or sitting in the back of a cab or on a train.”

For its launch, Shortcovers will offer 50,000 book titles for sale from $5 – $20, as well as individual chapters of books for 99 cents each. An estimated 200,000 sample chapters will also be available free for potential users. Post-launch Shortcovers will offer magazines and newspapers for sale, and the option of buying virtual copies of individual articles, an entire issue or a yearly subscription.


Shortcovers is being launched simultaneously in Canada (.ca) and the United States (.com) at 12:01 EST tomorrow. Virtual content can be downloaded using a BlackBerry Storm, Apple iPhone, Apple iPod touch and Google’s Android mobile application, as well as via computer.

Update: Shortcovers is now Kobo.