I've only just started to play with it myself, but early today, Shortcovers.com opened for business. Run by Canada's Chapters/Indigo book chain (though oddly not mentioned on their homepage), Shortcovers is the first solution for buying e-books on the go outside of the Kindle platform. They have apps for the iPhone and BlackBerry, with Android in the works, and you can also read on their website.
The idea is to be able to buy either entire books to download to your mobile device, or in some cases a chapter at a time. The first chapter is always free.
You can upload content as well, though I haven't explored how that all works, or whether you can set the content to be free or charge whatever you want.
I'm puzzled as to why books seem more expensive through Shortcovers than through traditional channels. Outliers, for example, costs $17.04 on the Chapters/Indigo website, but $19.09 on Shortcovers (though only $15.50 on Amazon.ca, sigh). I guess I'm paying for the convenience of getting it right now (though I don't know how long the book would take to download, or if I'd want to pay for it to arrive over the air as opposed to wifi). I dunno, I think I would've launched with some sort of deep discount, or subscription plan maybe.
They have options for subscribing to all content by a certain author, and lots of social networking sharing options, so it seems as though they're trying hard to build community around the product. They've got a blog, and they tweet; doing all the Web 2.0 stuff right, but I don't like that overpricing...
My virtual buddy MCM has just posted his thoughts from the small author's point of view.
So I'll keep playing with it and let you know if it really grabs me. I sure like the idea though! If you're in the States, and if they're charging Cdn dollars, as it appears, it's gonna be a great deal for you folks in the US, so try it out from there, eh!
Not sure yet what, if any, implications there are for libraries yet, but if the booksellers can adapt to the mobile platform, surely we can too! Maybe offer a digitization program where the content is optimized for mobile devices on the fly?
Anyhoo, check it out.