The journal Electric Literature has started a service that will allow authors to transmit their work directly to customers‘ iPads and iPhones by selling the book as an app rather than as an ebook sold through the iBooks or Kindle programs. The New York Times reports that Electric Publisher can develop such an app for about $600 and they already have several in the works.
The apps come with variety of features, such as commenting tools or audio and video clips. “People want to talk about the books they are reading with other people,” said Stephen Elliott, whose The Adderall Diaries will be Electric Publisher’s first app. “Why, with everything we know, wouldn’t you include a chat room with your e-book?” Also, in Mr. Elliott’s case, the iPad apps cost about five dollars more than the ebook versions.
There seems to be good deal of cutting out the middle man in all this, as readers seem to be fairly opposed to higher ebook prices, despite any bells and whistles. But, as the article notes, Apple has to approve these apps, so it’s not likely that authors will be able to pull a fast one and bypass the bookstore in the long term.