Here's an interesting opportunity for self-published authors. Smashwords is a "digital self publishing platform" (a blog on Wired points out that this is basically "what used to be called vanity press, only online.") But now the Smashwords catalog can be accessed by iPhone.
Another plus to the new arrangement: Readers are able not only to scan the catalog, but also to grab a section of the book at no charge. (In some cases the entire book is available for free.)
So readers are not being asked to pay before they take a chance on the work of an unknown author.
For both new authors and writers who'd like to get their out-of-print works back in circulation, it's an intriguing option.
Of course, as Wired blogger Charlie Sorrel points out, interest in this may have its limits. Sorrel predicts that, "e-books will soon be sold through the iTunes Store, in which case small publishers like this may lose out. "
But while it lasts, it's an interesting idea.
Chapter & Verse readers, take note: Also available at iTunes is the Monitor's weekly Books podcast. To download, just go to this link at iTunes: