By Edward Nawotka -- Publishers Weekly, 12/23/2008 7:31:00 AM
ScrollMotion, a two year old iPhone application development company, has launched Iceberg, an e-book reader for the iPhone with titles from six publishers: Random House, Hachette, Penguin, Counterpoint, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Simon & Schuster.
“What makes the software different,” said ScrollMotion’s chief literary officer Calvin Baker, “is that each book is a self-contained app. You download the book, not a piece of software.” Iceberg mimics the natural reading experience, allowing the user to “flip” the page with a swipe of the finger and uses the iPhone and iTouch’s interface to allow for scrolling, shrinking and expanding text, bookmarking and note taking.
Among the first titles available are Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Extras by Scott Westerfeld, Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen, and When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale. Matt Shatz, v-p of digital at Random House, told PW, “We really like the ScrollMotion application and the guys behind it.” He said the difference ScrollMotion brings to iPhone e-book reading is their treatment of DRM, which is tied to Apple’s iTunes store. “The way ScrollMotion does it, they offer us a way to sell DRM protected books directly on the phone, which the other main readers out there do not yet do at this time.”
Like the Kindle, books can be downloaded wirelessly, though unlike the Kindle which sells most titles for $9.99 or less, prices for the Iceberg-formatted books are the same or more as retail list -- $27.50 for the Paolini, $23.95 for the Kneale, $12.99 for the Westerfeld ($2 more than the paperback). As of today, two dozen titles are available for download. Baker said he “anticipates 200 titles should be available within weeks.”
The company arrives on the e-book scene with a publishing pedigree. Josh Koppell, founder and chief creative officer of ScrollMotion, published a memoir Good/Grief with HarperPerennial and earlier launched a digital music packaging company called TuneBooks, which was adopted by the iTunes music store to display digital liner notes, credits, biographies and other ephemera. Baker has written three novels, including Dominion, published by Grove in 2006.