In a bid to become the only e-reader app you need, BookShout! promises to free your e-books from the shackles of closed platforms like Kindle or Nook. Its goal is to allow you to read e-books you own in the way you want to. Whether Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble accept this system remains to be seen.
The app's Book Importer checks to see what e-books you bought from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and adds copies from its own system to your BookShout! reader — in most cases. The BookShout! app is free and available for iOS and Android and on the Web.
Here’s how it works: You enter your amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com username and password, and BookShout! logs in as you and checks to see what e-books you own. If BookShout! has a deal in place with the publisher of an e-book, the app downloads a copy.
You can think of it like a matching application — you aren’t actually importing the Kindle version of an e-book, for example. BookShout! validates that you have legally purchased the e-book on Amazon.com, and then provides you with its own version of that text. It’s like an e-book equivalent to iTunes Match, in which Apple matches digital music you own (but didn’t buy from Apple) with a copy in iCloud.
In a conversation with TechNewsdaily, BookShout! CEO Jason Illian compared the current closed e-book ecosystems to having to buy new music every time you get a new stereo.
Illian said publishers are behind his efforts to unlock e-books. He believes his system is legal and will stand up to any challenges from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. (BookShout! has not announced plans to support Apple iBooks.)
TechNewsDaily tested BookShout!, and the import system worked as advertised, though you may find that not all of your e-books match. The company says it has deals in place with five of the major publishers.
Consumers may be concerned about sharing their amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com log in, since it provides access to a great deal of personal information, including credit cards. Illian says the login information is not stored. If you want to import new purchases, you have to re-enter your username and password in BookShout!