The Google Bookstore is here. It combines a commercial bookstore with Google Search and Google’s library scanning project. Unlike the other book ecosystems such as Apple’s iBooks, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, Google is attempting to create one massive library. Google isn’t known for releasing perfect software or products. They tend to release things in beta and sometimes alpha stages. It shows that the Google Books isn’t fully polished, but my first impressions suggest that this is a viable product.
While the big players are battling over supremacy over the eBook marketplace, the consumers are the losers. If you have books in iBooks, Amazon, and now Google, your library is spread across competing platforms. Until eBooks are universal and customers are free to move their books from one platform to another, I suggest you don’t invest in an eLibrary or stick with physical books for now. Give this marketplace some time to play out. Don’t commit to just one platform.
Here’s a visual tour of some of the screens.
You have an option of browsing through the bookstore or searching for a topic.
When searching for a topic, in this case “Econometric Analysis,” Google provides book results from all sources. You’ll be able to buy the book if it’s available in the bookstore, find it at another store, or check it out at a library. Since Google is scanning physical books, you’re now able to search through books that were previously not searchable except by title or abstracts.
The bookstore has books similar to Amazon, iBooks, or the Barnes and Noble store. The experience is typical Google simple. There’s not a lot of extras and it’s feels like its built by an engineer. At this point, I think Amazon has the edge on experience.
Books can be read on mobile devices using a web browser, or through mobile apps for iOS and android. You can also read books on a computer, pick it up and finish on another device. Your pages are automatically synced throughout.