Google launches eBookstore

For you avid readers out there, Google has launched its new eBookstore. After a brief period browsing the page, here’s what I’ve come away with.

  • The pricing for the eBooks on Google mirrors what you’d see on your Kindle, iPad, or any other eReader you have. New releases and best sellers range from $10 to $15, with slashed prices for less popular or older titles.
  • The collection of free titles is abundant and easy to access. Within seconds of loading Google eBooks for the first time, I was reading Chapter 1 of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. All you need to access the titles is a functional web browser, which you most likely possess if you’re reading this blog post.
  • Launching a book in your browser, you’re able to adjust font, font size, and line spacing as you read. Each book has a Contents section that lets you jump around easily. It’s not mentioned whether taking notes or highlighting text is available. From what I gathered, it’s not yet a feature Google Books offers.
  • Whether the book is paid or free, diving into its pages for the first time places that title in a “My Google eBooks” page, which saves the book for later use. The page you were last on is bookmarked for your return, as well.
  • Google boasts that it has the largest collection of eBooks around (of which nearly 3 million are free), and there is unlimited storage space for all of your titles.

It’s my recommendation that you start out by browsing the “Best of the free” section on the Google bookstore home page. You’ll find a huge variety of authors, including Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, Twain, and Melville. Have fun, but remember to keep stretching yourself creatively as well. As Einstein once said, “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

On the business side, Google’s bookstore appears to be competing with Amazon’s Kindle. Downloading an eBook on Google lets you read the title on Android, Apple, PC, Barnes & Noble, and Sony platforms, but it does not appear that a Google-purchased book can be read on Kindle. This reaffirms that Amazon is on an isolated, albeit sizable, island in the eReader community.