Hey, Kindle 2! Apparently you have some legitimate competition calling itself the "kindle killer."
OK, enough with the cuteness. So far I've yet to be personally interested in the Kindle 2. That most likely has to do with the price of the unit. I just don't have the time to read enough books to make $360 for an e-reader worth it.
Shortcovers lets you read the first chapter of any book free of charge. It then gives you the option to either buy a chapter at a time, or purchase the whole book. Single chapters are expected to cost around 99 cents each, with full books averaging between $10 and $20. You'll also have the option to have the book shipped to you physically if you prefer.
Shortcovers is owned and operated by Indigo Books & Music, supposedly the largest book retailer in Canada.
While there are e-readers for the iPhone like Stanza and services like Bookworm already available, Shortcovers will be leveraging its close ties to the publishing industry to differentiate this service.
At launch, Shortcovers expects to have about 50,000 full books available, with another 200,000 individual chapters and excerpts in its library. According to PCWorld only a third of the titles will be public domain or copyright-expired works. The rest will be current commercial offerings.
Shortcovers plans to offer news and magazine articles, short stories, and blog posts in addition to the book content.
Check back soon for an update as we should have a beta version of the software in our hands before long.