It’s been the Holy Grail of both the traditional book publishing industry and the makers of sexy new electronic gadgets: an electronic book standard combined with some way to read and store them. Over the past decade or so numerous attempts have been made, but not until Amazon’s Kindle has a device/format combo become a success. Most efforts come to naught.
By all reports the Kindle is handy, a pleasure to hold and gaze at, and easy to use. My only problem with the Kindle is that the books are supplied in a proprietary format, which means that if Amazon quit manufacturing the reader the books people had bought would be more-or-less worthless. The user also has to buy a Kindle reader — and it irks me that $150.00 must be spent for the reader in order to read a purchased book. People who have and use a Kindle seem to be pleased, though. Here’s a review at my father’s blog The Orlop:
Allow me to digress a bit — the reason will soon become apparent.
It was early August of 2004. I had been on the net for about nine fun-filled years, and I’d watched as the Google search engine rose to prominence. I used the service several times every day and from my conversations with other net users it seemed that everyone else was using it too. This was quite a unique phenomenon in the expanding net culture, I felt.
On a news site I read that Google was going to be having an Initial Public Offering, which would make it possible for any investor to buy publicly-traded shares of Google stock. How exciting! I had a little money saved and I thought buying into Google might have pleasing consequences for me down the road a few years.
The morning of the IPO arrived and I was late for work. I left without even logging on to the net — and it wasn’t until that evening that I realized that I had missed my chance.
Back to the present… I still like Google and the innovative projects the firm has unleashed upon the world, such as Google Maps, Google Earth, their image search, and of course my current e-mail platform, Gmail.
Now Google is entering the electronic book market, in direct competition with Amazon and its Kindle e-book reader. No special reader is required for their books — any computer with access to the web, Androids, iPads, iPhones, various proprietary readers — all of these can read Google’s e-books. Interestingly enough, just about the only device which can’t be used to read Google’s books is the Kindle. This wasn’t a hostile move on Google’s part — the Kindle only reads Kindle-ized books.
Google’s e-books will also be available in local brick-and-mortar bookstores, even the independent booksellers.
I think Google’s books will rapidly overtake Amazon’s Kindle books in sales volume.
You can read more about this Google project here: