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In much the same way Amazon and Apple have created their own e-book stores, LDS Church-owned Deseret Book has introduced a new iPad and iPhone application that makes Mormon-themed books available for download.

The free Deseret Bookshelf app — which became available for the iPhone and iPod touch earlier this week — is available for all iDevices through the iTunes App Store. An Android version for phones and tablets is expected to be available in September.

"We've been doing e-books for about two years, primarily for the Kindle platform, but we wanted to take the next step and go digital in a big way," said Matt McBride, digital-product director for Deseret Book Co. "It's an e-reader app, and it has got some features that make it, we think, the best way to experience LDS content digitally."

More than 1,400 e-books are available through the bookstore, which are built into the e-reader app.

It allows users to purchase and download books straight to their mobile devices.

Books available are from a variety of genres, including biographies, fiction, nonfiction, young-adult fantasy, self-help and more.

There are also hundreds of out-of-print titles that are now available digitally through the app, including books such as Key to the Science of Theology, by Parley P. Pratt, and The Vitality of Mormonism, by James E. Talmage.

The application will also have unique features for readers such as the ability to do text searches throughout their entire e-library and links to Scriptures from any e-book.

"We've got updates planned that not only will improve the performance and speed but add some nice features that will make it an even better experience, like highlighting and a lesson planner," McBride said.

On average, the cost of the e-books will be 45 percent lower than their print counterparts, in the same way books are cheaper for Amazon's Kindle, said Ryan Miller, vice president of digital for Deseret Book.