It's a day old, but it's still not news for Ed Tech that Google released 600,000 free titles via Sony's e-reader store. I raised my eyebrows at first, thinking that this might give me a good reason to finally pick up an ebook reader. Long-time readers will know that I was briefly enamored of a Kindle I borrowed from Larry Dignan.
I love reading and consistently have 4 or 5 thick paperbacks going, driving my wife nuts with the clutter of books I leave in my wake. Either Sony's or Amazon's entry into this market would take care of that quite nicely. 600,000 books is nothing to sneeze at either; they might be public domain books, but I'm sure that I could find plenty to keep me busy.
Of course, if a book is in the public domain, it's probably not a hard-to-find international best-seller. Most likely, my library has a copy or would be more than happy to get it for me (for a town of 1000 people, I have the world's coolest librarian). Really, there's one word to remember here: recession.
Thinking of this in terms of Ed Tech, though, it's still not terribly relevant. Sure, there are plenty of classic novels that are required reading at the high school and college level, but textbooks in this format remain virtually non-existent. Jason Perlow and I gave some thought to "Kindlenomics" and concluded that e-readers could pay for themselves if texts were available (or if they were used correctly with literature-only reading lists), but, honestly, I'd rather see Sony partner with some major textbook publishers and get us some discounted content that way.
Sorry, Sony/Google. Especially, Google, you know I love you, but this is a non-starter in my market, I'm afraid.