The word from the TOC blog is that Shortcovers will give publishers the option of not using DRM, and it will work with ePub. All this is in the Good Thing category.

Meanwhile here’s a video of Walt Mossberg talking about e-books on the Kindle and iPhone, with Shortcovers among the possibilities mentioned on Fox News (although Walt’s still not getting into the eBabel/DRM issue the way he should).

Other features in Shortcovers, as summed up by TOC, are:

  • Online/offline options. Adding "buy the print version" to the iPhone equation might be shortcovers’ biggest contribution to the mobile reading market. Sure you can buy books from Amazon’s iPhone app, but you can’t also buy/read an electronic version at the same time. A lot of our [O’Reilly] ebooks are sold bundled with the print version, and it’s a great option to offer customers. (Print orders are fulfilled by Indigo in Canada, and by an as-yet-unnamed partner in the U.S.)
  • Cloud-style syncing. Buy from your phone, and the book appears in your online "Library" accessible from a browser. Offline downloads won’t be available initially, though apparently are on the way.
  • Recommendation and annotation. This was key to Amazon’s rise to dominance in online book retailing — its database of reviews and recommendations, a system that got smarter the more people used it.


  1. Wow – very interesting stuff. I’m really intrigued to learn more about Shortcovers’ “recommendation and annotation” feature(s) as there is boundless room for improvement and innovation in this area. I don’t think even Amazon has got this quite right yet, and if someone could adapt a great (w/ manageable & friendly UI) recommendation/annotation/AND social sharing feature to the ebook stage — that’d be huge.

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