Print media isn’t dead, it’s just slowly becoming digital media. Which I guess would mean that it’s dying. Regardless, it’s good news for those of us who actually like using our iPhones as e-readers. And it’s good news for Scroll Motion, a company responsible for bringing lots of best-sellers to the iPhone platform via its Iceberg Reader titles. Those titles, until now, have each been published as standalone apps, much to the consternation of me, and others who have to wade through the tangled mess that is the App Store to locate the few gems.
With the advent of iPhone OS 3.0, it will begin offering its titles via one, centralized app (something which, I should point out, Stanza was able to do just fine before 3.0) thanks to in-app purchasing. And though they already have about 500 titles on offer, they have bigger plans for the 3.0 Iceberg Reader software. 2,000 times bigger, give or take.
During its part at the WWDC keynote today, Scroll Motion revealed its upcoming Iceberg Reader app, which will take advantage of Apple’s new in-app purchasing to offer subscriptions to more than 50 major magazines, and, eventually, over a million books. That’s a lot of books. During the demo, the one they used to show how purchasing works was priced at $9.99, which is on par with many of its current standalone offerings. It is more expensive, however, than the average book I buy via the Stanza app, though you’re actually going through an external content provider for those transactions, whereas with Iceberg you’ll be able to just use your iTunes account.
Scroll Motion also showed off plans to offer text books for sale for students, and then proceeded to show how it might use copy/paste to plagiarize their betters. Or maybe use properly cited quotes, depending on their moral bent.
I’m not sure I’ll switch to Iceberg just because it enables in-app purchasing, especially if prices still favor Stanza, but the sheer volume of content it seems to be bringing to the platform definitely excites me as a reader. I want choices, and I want them in one place, easily accessible without a lot of switching stores and digging around as is currently the case with Stanza. Hopefully Amazon follows suit with its newly acquired property and answers Scroll Motion with as much content, and maybe more subscription offers. It could easily leverage its Kindle relationship to make that happen. Unfortunately, it will never give over purchasing control to Apple, so buying in-app will probably stay the exclusive province of independent operators like Scroll Motion.