Recently, I stumbled upon an excellent solution for reading eBooks on iPhone. This solution, while not designed specifically for iPhone, works surprisingly well. The format was originally designed for any mobile device, and it renders very well on iPhone's Safari browser. Essentially, it is a web-based reader that formats content into a simple text-only, single-column page layout. The name of the (full content) web site is manybooks.net, but more on that later.
Because the HTML on the page is incredibly simple, the pages load very fast over AT&T's torpid EDGE network. More importantly, the content of the eBooks are broken up into bite size chunks, with enough text for a couple minutes of reading before the need to go on to the next page. According to the manybooks.net web site, these mobile pages are broken up into 10 kb chunks.
Other web sites offer online eBooks in text format, but have significant disadvantages. Project Gutenberg, for example, shoves the entire text of the eBook onto a single page. This makes the page large and slow-loading and makes bookmarking impossible. Manybooks.net addresses the bookmarking issue by naming each page header uniquely, so that when you're on page 31 of The Old Man and the Sea, the page header indicates that you're on page 31. This allows you to bookmark the page, and easily get back to were you left off. Now on to the general process:
First, navigate to the mobile version of manybooks.net: mnybks.net
Second, browse either by Author, Title, Categories, or Recommendations until you find an eBook that interests you.
Third, read the eBook, and when you're ready for a break, just add a bookmark. As mentioned, the bookmark will include the page number and will take you to the exact page you left off. To keep your iPhone bookmark list cleaner, consider creating a folder for the eBook and adding all related "bookmarks" here. Alternatively, consider just naming each bookmark the same, in effect keeping only the latest place in the eBook.
Fourth, when you're ready to resume reading, just go to the bookmark where you left off and resume reading in fast-loading 10k chunks.
As a last note, manybooks.net contains only free eBooks, and at over 17,000 eBooks and rising, there are tons of titles to choose from. Enjoy.
Last, last note: as I was writing this article, I came across a new page on manybooks.net that explains other options for reading eBooks on the iPhone. Nice.