Google Books and other stuff

Well this week Google did finally launch their ebook venture.

Right now it’s a bit of a yawn although I’m relieved to see that it is not just about the cloud (Amazon’s announcement of web reader is sort of “me too” but gives them more or less equal rights in having your books “in the cloud”). So you can have Google books on all kinds of clients (Android, iPhone, Nook, Sony) EXCEPT Kindle, and likewise, you can have Amazon on all kinds of clients except other e-ink readers (Nook and Sony). Seems, I think, that this leaves Amazon way out in front for now. It’s not clear at the moment that Google is adding anything (much) to the party, other than of course their ponderous weight — although apparently with Google you can search inside of the books (to find them) although no preview snippets were available (searching ‘ikea magazine blomkvist’ quickly yielding Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is not the case with an Amazon search — Amazon I think would do well to take notice. books.google.com is now screen with links to the store or search of the classic “books.google.com” — a radical de-positioning it seems of the free scanned stuff.

Unsurprisingly, they are using epub format and Adobe’s DRM.

I did buy a book and downloaded the iPhone reader, which I thought was pretty immature, but should get there.

Meanwhile, speaking of Nook, I bought one when they came out a year ago and was unimpressed. My wife uses it (she likes it well enough) and last night I noticed that the software has silently revved a lot and took a quick look at their beta web browser, which on first glance I thought was quite impressive. It does a hi-resolution render of the page image AND renders a “window” on the color touch screen that lets you “roll over” the page and see it rendered in color! Kind of cool, finally using the color screen for something interesting. Not sure ultimately how usable it is, but bears further examination.

Finally, got a nice note from a blogger who includes RetroRead on his list of “10 Kindle websites, apps & goodies you can’t live without“. Thanks!

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