Rook Labs, based in London, plans to release an app that allows people to access e-books on their mobile devices at no charge while they’re in a defined location, such as a café, park, hospital, or subway car. When the person starts to move out of range, they’ll be invited to buy and download their own copy of the e-book right from the app.
A beta version of the location-based app, also dubbed Rook, will be unveiled at the London Book Fair this week. The company’s website claims users will be able to read “premium” e-books with the app and The Guardian reported Rook has two independent book publishers lined up to participate. It’s not clear how many titles are currently available.
“The biggest hurdle to overcome will be publisher suspicion about a great e-book giveaway,” The Guardian article commented, noting that readers are unlikely to pay for the book if there are enough Rook hotspots to finish it for free.
The beta version will be rolled out only in London and New York City.