At Wednesday’s IndieCommerce Institute in Chicago, the American Booksellers Association announced that it is working with Bluefire Productions to create a version of the company’s popular BlueFire Reader app for IndieCommerce stores selling Google eBooks™. The app will be called IndieBound Reader and will link back to indie bookstores for purchase on the Android platform. An iOS version of the app will also be available, but without a purchase option due to Apple’s restrictions regarding in-app purchases.
Bluefire Reader is an independently developed app for iOS (and in beta for Android) with a competitive feature set noted for its clean user interface and highly customizable display preferences, including controls for font size, brightness, page margins, night mode, and more. The reader for IndieCommerce stores will include those features as well as IndieBound branding and these other notable differences:
Activate e-books using a Google Account, not an Adobe ID
The standard version of Bluefire Reader uses Adobe Digital Editions, and, as such, requires the customer to establish an account with Adobe before using the app. Users of IndieBound Reader will be able to access their e-books using their Google Account instead—the same account used to purchase the books from an IndieBound store.
Embedded store for online shopping (Android only)
The Android version of IndieBound Reader will open into a screen that invites customers to choose a bookstore for e-book purchases. Customers will be presented with a list of stores near their current location, or they can search for a store by entering a zip code or store name. In any case, a single click is all it takes to select a store. The app will permanently remember customers’ choice and will not prompt them again.
Once customers have selected a store, they will be taken directly to that bookstore’s website for shopping and library access. All IndieCommerce stores selling Google eBooks will automatically be included in the list of available stores in IndieBound Reader. IndieCommerce sites will display the mobile theme for easy browsing and purchase.
The iOS version of IndieBound Reader will not include the embedded store, due to restrictions set up by Apple relating to in-app purchases. These apply to other popular e-reader apps on iOS, including Nook, Google Books, etc.
As Bluefire Productions creates updates for its Bluefire Reader app, the IndieBound Reader will be updated as well.
Work on the IndieBound Reader app is underway now, and the app is expected to launch within the next 60 days. Anyone who would like to try out the current Bluefire Reader for iPhone/iPad can download it from the App Store.