E-Reader ScrollMotion Strikes Publisher Deals

by , Jun 22, 2009, 7:19 AM
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ScrollMotion, a mobile app developer spotlighted at Apple's recent developer conference, formally announced agreements to bring additional books, magazines and newspapers to its e-reader application for the iPhone.

Key to this effort is a deal with digital content provider LibreDigital, allowing New York-based ScrollMotion to offer access to 170 newspapers and 50 magazines and books from publishers including HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and John Wiley & Sons.

iphone/ereader-scrollmotion ScrollMotion already offers some 800 titles through its e-book iPhone app released last December including bestsellers and well-known titles such as "Angels and Demons," Twilight, "Coraline" and "Curious George's Dictionary."

Over the next year to two years, the company plans to offer more than 1 million books and will begin rolling out digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Harvard Business Review in the fall.

With the release of the new 3.0 version of the iPhone operating system, users will also be able to download titles directly from iTunes via in-app purchases. Previously, each book was downloaded as a separate app using ScrollMotion's e-reader technology.

While the ScrollMotion app has gained a following, and was among the apps highlighted when Apple unveiled the 3.0 operating system and the new iPhone 3G S earlier this month, the company will not disclose how many times it's been downloaded. But it's probably premature to call it a Kindle-killer.

ScrollMotion CEO John Lema credits the popular Amazon.com device for breathing new life into the e-book market as a whole. But rather than competing directly with the Kindle, which has its own iPhone app, he says the company is trying to use "all the functionality of the phone."

That includes features such as search, turning pages at the swipe of a finger, the ability to annotate and copy and paste text, and email passages without leaving the app. Such attributes, along with animated graphics, lend the app especially well to textbooks and educational materials, which Lema expects to be a strong category for ScrollMotion.

Amazon is also eying the educational market, striking deals with three of the five largest textbook publishers to sell titles via the Kindle, according to CEO Jeff Bezos. Speaking at a Wired conference in New York on June 15, however, Bezos stressed the need for a reading-specific device. "It's a myth that multi-purpose devices are always better," he said.

Despite the iPhone's much smaller screen size, Lema said users are averaging 15 minutes per session with ScrollMotion. "That's a very long reading time," he said. "I think it's a comfortable form factor for reading."

The Kindle isn't ScrollMotion's only competition. It's also contending with several other e-reader apps including Stanza, Bookshelf and eReader. But they mostly only offer either out-of-copyright titles or require users to buy new books separately from an online store.

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