Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

Summary: The competition in the eBook space is heating up today, with Google announcing Google eBooks and a new Google eBookstore.Google, which is no stranger to digital books, boasts more than 3 million titles, including "hundreds of thousands" of titles for sale.

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The competition in the eBook space is heating up today, with Google announcing Google eBooks and a new Google eBookstore.

Google, which is no stranger to digital books, boasts more than 3 million titles, including "hundreds of thousands" of titles for sale. But unlike Amazon or Barnes and Noble, which offer their Kindle and Nook e-readers, Google doesn't appear to be interested in selling an eBook reader. From its blog post announcing the news:

Most devices with a modern browser are compatible with Google eBooks -- everything from laptops to netbooks to tablets to smartphones to e-readers. Using the new Google eBooks Web Reader, you can buy, store and read Google eBooks in the cloud. That means you can access your ebooks like you would messages in Gmail or photos in Picasa -- using a free, password-protected Google account with unlimited ebooks storage.

Like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, Google is also rolling out apps for Android devices, as well as Apple's iPhone and iPad, to allow shopping and reading on the go. (Kindle and Nook also have apps available for other platforms, as well.) In addition, many of the books allow users to select font, font size, day/night reading mode and line-spacing.

That's important to note because Amazon has repeatedly tried to differentiate the Kindle experience from Apple's iBooks experience by noting that the iPhone and iPad are not dedicated e-readers and that, specifically, those Apple screens don't allow for optimal reading during daylight hours.

I don't own a Kindle but have purchased books via Kindle for reading on my Android phone and iPod Touch. The daytime sunshine has never been a problem for reading from those devices.

I don't read books nearly as often as I should, which makes me a hard sell for an e-reader. I'm not opposed to one - but no one has been able to sell me on the value of the e-reader. Is the e-ink the only real selling point? If so, I'd rather hang on to my $149 (Nook) or $139 (Kindle) and just buy some books to read on one of the many other devices I already have.

Amazon continues to play up the value of the e-reader but I'm just wondering if e-readers won't soon be replaced by tablets and other devices that can certainly double as e-readers and do much more, as well.

After all, isn't the real value behind the book itself and not the device that's used to read it? Google, which offers its thoughts on books in its blog post, seems to think so. The company said:

When Google Books first launched in 2004, we set out to make the information stored in the world’s books accessible and useful online. Since then, we’ve digitized more than 15 million books from more than 35,000 publishers, more than 40 libraries, and more than 100 countries in more than 400 languages. This deep repository of knowledge and culture will continue to be searchable through Google Books search in the research section alongside the ebookstore.

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Topics: Google, Hardware, Mobility

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19 comments
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  • No they can't

    Single purpose devices are generally stop gap measures until technology is sufficiently advanced to put that particular function in a multipurpose device, at virtually zero cost/size/weight penalty.
    Economister
    • RE: Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

      @Economister : idiot
      nomorebs
  • RE: Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

    The Google eBook store just launched and you are already pronouncing Kindle and Nook dead. Someone's getting a kickback from Google.

    I see this as another failed service from Google like so many before it. Won't be long before we see the announcement that Google cancelled this service too. And did they actually pay for the rights for the books this time or did they steal the information like they did their news alerts and newspapers?
    Loverock Davidson
    • Hate much?

      @Loverock Davidson
      Once again you run to the extreme. He's asking if the new eBook store is a threat or not. Hence the use of the interrogative - you know, that thing inthe headline that begins with "Can" and ends with "?"

      Sheesh!
      use_what_works_4_U
    • RE: Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

      @Loverock Davidson : it's easy to understand. Apple fanboys ALWAYS cheer news or predictions about Kindle demise. Maybe they are pissed off of the about face of their visionary and futuristic master Jobs about people not reading anymore but later realizing how fool he was and launching an assault on Amazon's ebook strategy.
      nomorebs
  • battery life

    If you're a serious reader, the battery life of backlit devices doesn't cut it. That is why e-ink presents a real value to its target market.
    peterj26
    • RE: Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

      @peterj26 Not just that, but it's much easier to read on something like a Kindle for extended period than on any backlit device.
      MikeR666
      • RE: Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

        @Mike (not Cox) True. The device is light weight, and has a great screen. I have a Kindle and look at a computer screen all day at work. The e-ink screen is a nice relax on the eyes.
        But don't get all upset with the hyperbolic title of the column. They have to make them that way so suckers like us will come on here and comment.
        jaypers
    • re: battery life

      @peterj26
      I assume that if the iPad -as an example- can get 10 hours out of a battery doing full motion video which has been reported by sources other than Apple, that it will last at least that long when reading an eBook. Very rare is the book which is so good that I want to read it for more than 10 hours.

      Personally I think the real value of e-ink devices is in the "lessened fatigue" factor. Both fatigue on the eyes (backlights tend to make eyes weary) and on the arm (the Kindle is significantly lighter than the iPad). In a perfect world I would own both and use them for distinct purposes. In my world, however, I can only afford one and the greater functionality of a tablet device (iPad, maybe Galaxy, or something not yet released) will balance out the increased weight and backlight issues.
      use_what_works_4_U
      • RE: Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

        @macadam : Even the foolish blogger Perlow who is antagonistic to anything Kindle has found out, with more or less realistic tests that iPad is no contender for Kindle in sunlight. That's just too many things: cheaper, more readable, better battery life. Sorry the iPad is an inferior device compared to the Kindle for reading purposes. Live with that troll boy.
        nomorebs
  • RE: Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

    Amazon Kindle is the most popular and powerful e-book distribution platform, to imply there will be some sort of a threat from this Google service, that will likely be in a perpetual beta state, is stretching it. Kindle is unstoppable, and exists as an app on many platforms.
    OxBAADFOOD
  • RE: Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

    Ebooks are the future and it's now! Google is on the right track. With ebook readers growing at a rate of 177% in a failing economy, the word is here and it is EBOOK. Download GRANT ME. Sassy Southern suspense follows Serenity Prayer. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/GRANT-ME/Stephanie-M-Sellers/e/2940011917189/?itm=1&USRI=grant+me Everyone LOVES parking-lot-lab, Mister Zoo! You will, too. GRANT ME by Stephanie M.Sellers, w/Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
    SMSellers
    • I heard the book

      was pretty stupid and poorly written.
      Ron Bergundy
  • You don't get out much, huh?

    "I don?t own a Kindle but have purchased books via Kindle for reading on my Android phone and iPod Touch. The daytime sunshine has never been a problem for reading from those devices."
    x I'm tc
    • RE: Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

      @jdakula : Yes he does read a lot: he reads all the commands from his master Jobs every single day.
      nomorebs
  • RE: Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

    It's great to see that much competition for an area that certain idiot pronounced as irrelevant ("people don't read anymore")
    nomorebs
  • Author, you're a dumbass

    Do you realize that the format works with Nook and other generic e-readers?

    NO? WHAT'S THAT? YOU DIDN'T DO YOUR RESEARCH?

    Sit down, shut up.
    memotro
  • RE: Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

    A better question would be "Since Google's books cannot be read on the most popular e-reader [Kindle] can Google's e-book store survive?"
    djlong
  • RE: Google launches eBooks; Can the Kindle, Nook survive this eBook battle?

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