SINGAPORE--Local telco Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) has launched the country's first e-book app, offering both local and international publications through an app on mobile devices.
Launched Tuesday, the e-book service--called "skoob"--is immediately available as a free app on Apple and Android tablets and smartphones, and can also be used on PCs and Macs via standard Web browsers. It offers more than 39,000 local and international bestsellers and these titles are priced in Singapore dollars, SingTel said in a statement.
Customers can download books on up to five devices for each title, and payments can be made via Singapore credit cards. SingTel customers can opt to have purchases charged to their monthly bills.
The telco said the e-book service offers savings over the cost of conventional physical books. It pointed to a John Grisham novel, The Confession, which is available on skoob for S$9 (US$7.03) instead of S$17.07 (US$13.33) in a bookshop, as well as Neil Humphrey's novel, Complete Notes from Singapore, which is priced at S$13.90 (US$10.85) instead of S$29.90 (US$23.34). A range of classics is also available for free download including Arthur Conon Doyle's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.
In addition, the works of Singapore writers, study guides and educational books for local primary and secondary school students are offered via the new service. School assessment papers and Chinese languages books will also be available on the app in the near future.
For international publications, titles from leading publishers--including the world's six major publishing houses Random House, Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, Simon and Schuster and Macmillan--are available on skoob. Titles, study guides and education books from Singapore publishers can also be purchased via the e-store, including Popular, Marshall Cavendish, Cengage Learning, Asiapac, Flame of the Forest, McGraw Hill, Sunbear, Monsoon, Singapore Asia Publishers (SAP) and Janus Education.
"The Singapore market has long been overlooked by e-book services from abroad," Goh Seow Eng, SingTel's chief of digital home, said in the statement. "With the launch of skoob, Singapore readers finally have a service that offers local books and caters specifcally to their tastes and needs. It also provides local publishers and writers with a powerful digital platform that allows them to reach a wider audience."
Goh added that that skoob was an important addition to SingTel's suite of multimedia offerings, including AMPed music service, "DeF!nd" digital concierge, ESC games service, "De!ite" e-magazine service, ExCite Web video app and mio TV.
While skoob is the first e-book app, it is not the first to enter Singapore's online bookstore market. In August this year, Singapore-based online bookstore NoQ store, owned by Times Publishing Group, was also unveiled. It offers Asian content, titles, authors, publishers and distributors in traditional paper books.