Market dynamo Google has unveiled its long-promised e-bookstore called, unsurprisingly enough, Google ebookstore. You can access it at http://books.google.com/ebooks and all you need is a Gmail account and a web browser.
Many of the books are free, the old classics whose copyrights have expired are prominent in this group. Familiar favorites like A Tale of Two Cities, Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and many more are available for immediate reading online.
Select the book, click the <Read it now - FREE> button and if you’re logged in to your Google mail account, you’re reading the book in seconds. You can read the book directly in your browser with previous page, next page, search, one-click access to the table of contents, settings that let you adjust the format and font size, quick information about the book you’re reading, and a handy help menu.
You can click <Read on your device> instead to install free apps for Android, iPad, iPhone, PDF Reader and an EPUB Reader. There’s online help to guide you through the simple steps you need to do.
This gives Google an opportunity to compete with Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble for electronic book sales. Instead of needing a Kindle app, this opens up the market to web browsers, PDF readers and EPUB (electronic publication) readers.
This opens a new market to independent booksellers as well, who can now advertise and sell their books for a share of revenues received. This is a new opportunity for smaller booksellers to compete in the electronic book marketplace with the well-known major players.
You can apparently synchronize your content across several devices like your iPad and iPhone or Android phone, so you can stop reading on your iPad for example, and pick up reading on your phone precisely where you left off.
It also opens up a larger opportunity for consumers to select to purchase from third-party affiliates and sellers. Welcoming booksellers and affiliates to market on Google ebookstore, potentially thousands of them, might help Google catch up to the larger players more quickly than might otherwise be expected.
There are supposedly more than half a million books already available online but a large number of them fall into the category of older classics published before 1923. Working the details of copyright protection on new releases is still an act in progress. For new books, Amazon is still the big kid on the block.
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