The launch of a new short stories app from book publisher Ether Books promises to offer iPhone readers a reading renaissance.

The short story is of course perfectly suited to iPhone reading, as it offers a bite-sized bit of literary entertainment for readers to enjoy on short commutes.

Whether or not Ether's latest mobile app can make the publisher and its authors any cash, of course, remains to be seen.

New stories from literary big-hitters

That said, Ether's app gives readers the opportunity to read stories on the go from the likes of recent Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel, Alexander McCall Smith and Lionel Shriver.

"We think this will be the renaissance of the short story," said novelist Sophia Bartleet, who is the brains behind Ether Books's app.

Bartleet is at the London Book Fair this week to promote her new mobile app, which is on the app store now and features over 200 pieces of short-form writing, including brand new stories from Shriver, McCall Smith, Hanif Kureishi, Toby Litt and Matthew Kneale.

"I know publishers don't like short stories because they're difficult to sell," Bartleet said. "There's so much fantastic literature out there which is not getting to readers, and this is a way of reaching them."

Should the app be successful on the iPhone and iPod Touch, Bartleet wants to roll it out on other smartphones and mobile devices.

Booker prizewinner Mantel added: "As far as stories are concerned, I think readers like them, but the puzzle has been how to make them available in a way that is economically sustainable ... The idea of stories as apps makes sense. The technology suits the short form."

Via The Guardian