I love reading books on my iPhone, but I don't love e-book prices. I mean, digital content requires no printing, binding, shipping, storage, or heavy lifting--so why does Amazon charge the same price for the Kindle edition of "The Kite Runner" as for the paperback?
That's a debate for another day (though let me go on record saying I'd buy a lot more e-books if they were priced in the $1 to $4 range). For now, let's look at ways you can read on the cheap--or, at least, the cheaper--on your iPhone.
Look for freebies Stanza
, one of my favorite e-book viewers (
just acquired by Amazon
, incidentally), connects you with thousands of freebies. For example, check out the Random House Free Library, which currently stocks 10 mainstream e-books. (Best bet: Charlie Huston's superb crime-noir series, which starts with "Caught Stealing.") Meanwhile, there's Google Book Search, a browser-based solution that connects you to a whopping 1.5 million public-domain books. Point Safari to http://books.google.com/m
. Look for deals E-bookseller Fictionwise already discounts its e-books, but you can stretch your dollar even further by setting up a "Micropay" account (i.e., a debit account). Most books come with a Micropay rebate, meaning you get 10 percent to 15 percent of the purchase price added back to your account. But sometimes Fictionwise runs rebate specials, as it's doing right now with J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" series: Buy any/all of the books and you get back 100 percent. You can read Fictionwise e-books using eReader
or Stanza. (Just make sure to choose titles that are available in the Secure eReader format.) Try before you buy Amazon's Kindle
app lets you read free of charge the entire first chapter of any book in the Kindle Store. That's a great way to see if you like a book before plunking down your $10. However, you can't browse the store from within the app: You have to queue up your sample chapters from your browser. Not so with Shortcovers
, an e-book viewer with a built-in bookstore that offers sample chapters for many titles (but only forewords for others).… Read more