Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Google e-book store finally live

Google launched their e-book store a few days ago and is claiming they have over 3 million titles in their store.

The store is available here Google is offering ebook readers for Many devices, like Androids, iPhone, iPad and PCs.
I downloaded the iPad app and started to test it against the Apple iBook application.
You need to have an account with google. If you have an gmail account, then you are ready to go. Just login with your gmail account. The app will open Safari if you want to search or buy a book. IBook keeps the user all the time in the application. The nice part with google is, that it does not matter which device you use it always remember the last page you were reading and all your book are on all devices always available. Google books are in the cloud. I did search for "social marketing". With google I got over 340 results back and three as free. The website has a nice feature to display only free books. With iBook i got only 52 results and not free book. Both companies are offering a shortcut to NYT Bestsellers.

Clicking on a book will bring a product page with description, ratings and related books.

I was hoping to see as well some social aspects but they are missing.
Google offers like ibook samples. You have to be logged into the website even if you come directly from your iPad app.
The iPad app is ok. As soon i bought a book on the website, it showed up in my iPad application.
Google has some nice features in the iPad app. It let's the user flip the pages like iBook, but it is not so smooth.

I needed a while to figure out how it works. You need to place your finger very close to the edge otherwise it will not start to flip.
Really cool is the magnifier when you put two fingers on the screen.

Google books has some other interesting features, you can read a book in scanned format or flowing text. You can switch from day to night. Night will make the background black and text white. You can switch 3-D Page turn off, choose from 7 fonts types and you can change font size when you are in the flowing text modus.

But there is no feature to mark text (you search but not mark), you can't tweet parts from the text neither.
The landing page of the app is showing all books you ordered.

Google is saying it is open, but it is not more open than amazon. In fact you can read kindle books on more device than google books.
Google books (like Kindle books) are protected by a digital rights management copy-protection scheme. As a result, the copyrighted books in Google's bookstore can't be shared, resold, or read on any device that doesn't play nice with Google's DRM. The copy-protection system that Google has chosen, Adobe's Content Server 4, works across lots of different e-book readers. You can read a Google e-book on the Barnes & Noble Nook, the Sony Reader, Apple's iOS devices (the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), any Android device, and any Javascript-enabled Web browser (which means Macs, Windows and Linux PCs, BlackBerrys, Windows Phone, and many more).
The prices at google are similar like Amazon or Apple, sometimes a few dimes less. Google has the most e- books, but only because of the 2 million copyright free scanned books. Amazon has only 650,000 copyright free books, but 200,000 more copyright protected books.
Most of the books at google are the same as at amazon, both signed same deals with the big publishers.

Overall google is another ebook platform, which means i have now four different apps to read books. I always look first in Apple iBook if I don't find the book i go to amazon or B&N.

The iPad app is better than kindle app and could be better than iBooks if the app would not open safari when I want to search or buy a book and if I could highlight text in the books.

A good start but why another ebook app and another store which does not offer better selection of paid books than the others.

Google eBooks offers a large selection of ebooks. We carry over 3 million titles in every imaginable category.

Paid and Free eBooks
We have partnered with publishers and authors to make hundreds of thousands of ebooks available for purchase. These include new releases and bestsellers; new titles are being added to Google eBooks everyday. To see our latest arrivals, simply view our "New Arrivals" shelf. In addition, we offer nearly 3 million free ebooks from the public domain. You can browse some of our most popular free classics in the store using our "Free Classics" shelf. You can also shop directly at the Google eBookstore to browse our entire collection of ebooks.

File Format
Google eBooks are stored in the cloud, so if you plan to read on the web using your computer, tablet, or on your phone, there is no file to download and you can read ebooks directly within the browser or application. If you plan to read using an eReader, you should learn more about the available ePub and PDF file formats, and how to transfer Google eBook files onto your eReader. A small number of ebooks may not be enabled for download to your eReader due to limits set by the publisher; those ebooks will display an alert message ("No download files included") before you purchase or get the ebook.

Page Quality
Some ebooks are offered with flowing text or original scanned pages, or both. Google eBooks with flowing text allow for better control over your reading experience, such as the ability to easily adjust the font size, line spacing and paragraph alignment. Other ebooks with original scanned pages contain text that does not adjust to the different screen sizes of your reading devices. Many Google eBooks offer both flowing text and scanned pages options, and you can easily switch between the two formats within your reader settings. Any ebook that only comes with scanned pages will display an alert message ("Better for larger screens") before you purchase or get the ebook.

Copyright and Digital Rights
Many Google eBooks are protected under copyright law, and our publisher and author partners require us to protect them against unauthorized copying and abuse. These protections come in the form of digital rights management (DRM) and control your usage of your ebooks, such as the option to download ebooks as ePub and PDF files. These protections are specified by the publisher and Google is required to implement them. Some Google eBooks are completely free of digital rights management - they are either free public domain books, or the rightsholder has chosen to provide its readers full access to the content. In these cases you will be able to download DRM free ePubs or PDFs. For all other Google eBooks, we will implement rights management as required by publishers. Additionally, some publishers will limit the number of mobile readers that can download a specific book at a time, and will limit the number of concurrent reading sessions allowed for their content. Learn more about our user policy, and how to use multiple devices to read.
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