Welcome the newest player to the eBook marketplace, Google. Touting a library of over 3 million books, our favorite search engine (internet dominator) is promising commitment free eBooks for all your devices. Limited to the U.S. for now, Google’s eBookstore allows customers to purchase digital books and textbooks through their simple web store or through their iOS and Android apps.
Could Google be the solution to the lackluster eTextbook market? Maybe. Google has signed nearly 4,000 publishers at launch, most of whom will be uploading digital versions of their textbooks in the coming months. As of today none of my required textbooks for the current semester were available in Google’s marketplace. Strike one. Okay, maybe a little unfair, surely the selection will improve eventually. The question is, “will students buy textbooks from Google?” Digital eTextbooks from the big G are priced roughly the same as their paper counterparts, i.e. ridiculously expensive. Unfortunately, the majority of the textbooks currently offered limit your access to one of the mobile apps or the Google web reader. Yes, that means you need an internet connection to read textbooks on your computer. Strike two. Sony Reader and Nook owners are out of luck as well; these textbooks aren’t available for download in the ePub format for reading on your devices. Strike three.
Google’s eBookstore is only days old and there’s no doubt I’m judging this book by its cover. I encourage you to open a few book samples and reflect on your experiences in the comments below.