There have been several recent stories of mobile publications and platforms expanding (retreating?) into the browser. Today Overdrive announced “Overdrive Read” a browser-based platform based on their recent acquisition of Australian e-book publisher Booki.sh. The new interface will launch later this year after demoing at Book Expo America and ALA. Mobile magazine app Zinio has partnered with Recorded Books to offer a browser-based subscription periodical service aimed at public libraries. The service has been running strong in other english language markets for nearly a year but its recent stateside launch scored several quickie subscriptions.
Inkling’s also taken the plunge, perhaps to augment distribution in their upcoming partnership with Follett. Several Inkling titles are currently on web display for the curious. The interface is lovely and per-chapter purchasing is a major innovation in an industry too tied to the tome. These expansions coupled with things like the recent absorption of Google’s “Play” Books into the Android store seem like part of a distributed books movement. What looks like a step back may actually be a step out; the same equalizing force that is pushing publications to debut mobile could be razing device distinctions and shucking the significance from mode of access.