A small publishing company called Ether Books is promising to revive the forgotten trend of reading short stories, analysing essays and pondering on poetry, thanks to the iPhone and Apple's other mobile devices.
The Guardian reports that the fledgling publishing business is betting its survival on the platform after the format fell out of favour thanks to falling prices coupled with an exponential increase in titles on the market.
Ether Books will release an iPhone App at the London Book Fair that will be compatible with the 90 million or so iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad devices currently on the market.
Around 200 novels and books will be available initially via a dedicated iPhone application, including short stories from the likes of Alexander McCall-Smith, Paul McCartney, Philip Gross and Lionel Shriver.
A few will be included for free while the rest of the ever growing catalogue will be available for as little as $0.99, affordable enough for those looking for a quick read on the train.
Interestingly, the company has chosen to sign up authors directly rather than going through the traditional publishers and has not ruled out launching the application for other platforms including Android and Symbian.
Ether Books Digital Director, Maureen Scott, told Reuters that "The tech press may be slavering over the iPad, Kindle and Sony eReader as traditional publishers leap over themselves to expand their e-book offerings".
Good luck to Ether publishing. If Apple and other mobile platforms can save these companies then it is likely that it will have found unlikely supporters. Digital platforms it seems tend to favour smaller, rather than bigger fishes.