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    © 2014, Joseph B. Wikert
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« Scribd Stats: A Social Dashboard for Reading | Main | "Google-level Relevance, Facebook-level Social, & Apple-level Design" »

December 13, 2010


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Why shop at Google eBooks? A) Their eBooks are compatible with other e-Ink readers, such as Nook, Sony, Kobo, etc. Kindle eBooks are only compatible with Kindle e-readers. (Yes, you can read Kindle eBooks on other devices, but not e-Ink devices.) B) Google eBooks allows independent bookstores a way to compete in the digital realm, which is important to many readers who want to support their local stores instead of feed more money into Amazon etc.

Joe Wikert

Hi Andrew. I guess if I were using one of those dedicated e-readers you mention (e.g., Nook, Sony or Kobo), I might be more inclined to buy from Google. I opted out of eInk devices when I bought my iPad though and I can't imagine dealing with that constant "Loading..." message every few pages. It reminds me of the eInk display delay I used to get on my original Kindle.

I also figured Google would use this extra time to come up with some cool reader app features. They've got so much development talent in the organization and it was disappointing to see a reader app that isn't even as good as some of the existing ones.


I agree with your assessment. It made me yawn.

Ashley Musick

This is a great post. I've been reading about the new Google launch and I haven't been able to find out what all the fuss is about. Basically there isn't anything new that would benefit me because I have a Kindle. Who cares that Amazon doesn't allow the books to be read on other devices... the best device made exclusively for ebooks is the Kindle anyway. Sounds like Google might offer something to people who have other devices, but what makes buying books from them better than shopping for ebooks on Barnes and Noble or Borders? They have some of the good info and content that Amazon offers on their site, and Google seems to be lacking that.

Just seems to me that if you were going to recreate the wheel, you'd make it extraordinary... not just ordinary.


I couldn't agree more. Nothing new or exciting here. I'll stick with Amazon and my Kindle.

Book Calendar

There is something which is not said going on here. Kindle software is now available for the Ipad and my understanding is that more people use the Kindle App than the ibooks store to read on the Ipad at least anecdotally from what I hear.

Also, Ipads are starting to pick up apps for all the eink readers like the Bluefire App which allows Ipad to read Epub documents (free library books from Overdrive). You can add in other apps like the Kobo App, the Nook App, and the Ipad allows a variety of storefronts, not just Amazon. There is even a Google App.


I agree with this post. I expected to be wowed, but I was let down.

And, fwiw, Google Books can be read in the Kindle's browser. Once you get to the book, it's pretty simple to read the book and doesn't look bad, either. That said, I'll stick with Kindle books for my ebook needs.

Ed Renehan

I'm quite surprised that Google has come to the table with such a half-hearted effort. Not their usual model for launches.

Francis Hamit

I'm a former Google Print Partner and they re-activated the account. One thing that bothers me is that they make so much of the book available for free. Twenty percent. For non-fiction that's not very helpful since most researchers are looking for a gold nugget in a mass of dross. If they find it for free, why would they buy the entire book?

They want to put ads on the pages, which sounds great going in, but last time it was just pennies and not really worth the hassle. Currently I'm having to buy "covers' for Kindle publications and hire contractors to format them so they will display properly and those costs greatly raise the break-even point. My past experience does not make this a good or even realistic investment of time and money. Everyone is hoping for a breakthrough but do e-readers offer an equivilent reading experience to that of a well-designed print book? Ease of use is always an issue.

When we published "The Shenandoah Spy" we spent a lot of time making the pages attractive and easy to read. Two days just comparing typefaces by printing out two pages of text in final form. With a novel you want the "page-turner" effect and that doesn't happen if your page and type design induces eye fatigue. I had jury duty Tuesday and killed time by reading Carol Buchanan's second novel "Gold Under Ice". And I read it all, with pleasure. Great story, by the way, but the fact that it was a printed book helped. Black type on a reflective white page and not looking at lower resolution type on a screen. I doubt I could have done this will a reader or a laptop.

IMO e-books are still an early-adopter niche market. Does any one use a reader if they are not traveling? If you are at home and have a print book and a reader, which do you pick up first?

For publishers the formatting problems are a major problem. offers a service for this but takes no responsibility for the final result. Plays and poetry can't really be done. All the spacing goes away and the words all jam together. This is caused by hidden code which also inserts unintended artifacts into the text.

If we could just upload material and go, we would publish a lot more. We have hundreds of thousands of words of legacy material in the files, but little of it will sell well, Not much demand and what there is is not moved by price points. Sales on my new fiction in Kindle format is not any better than any of our other e-books.

It is just very hard to make a business case for taking the extraordinary pains in presentation that customers expect, but if you are not going to do that, then you might as well not do it all. At this point, Google Books is not an attractive channel.

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