Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Google Me This, Google Me That

In the ongoing battle for the Future of Publishing, it seems there's another player vying for the crown of Evil Book Overlord™: Google. Yes, yes, I know we've been hearing about them for years with regard to copyright infringement, but now that it seems like the G-Unit has made deals with several (read: 25,000+) publishers and authors to sell their works via Google Editions, I think Amazon and Apple have good reason to be worried.

Between books it will legally sell through publisher/author contracts and books with expired copyrights, Google Editions will have nearly four million e-book titles available (compared to the iBookstore's 46,000 or so and Amazon's 500,000). If you tried to read one Google Editions book per day (assuming they didn't add more over time), it would take you almost eleven thousand years to read them all. To which I say: that is pretty awesome.

Some interesting caveats, however: apparently, your Google books will live in the cloud, which is a fancy way of saying "on the Internet." They won't live on your computer and you'll either need to be connected to the Internet or download the books into an off-line cache to read them. No word yet on which device formats the books will be available in, but I'm guessing that since Google is competing with Amazon, their proprietary e-book format won't be one of them.

Questions/comments/vitriol/praise: you know what to do.


  1. "...download the books into an off-line cache..."

    That means that you *will* be able to have it on your system ;)

  2. I don't foresee 'the cloud' as being too bothersome. There are hubs everywhere now. Maybe not out in the desert or mountains, but who takes an e-book reader camping?

  3. Sounds like the giant library system in the sky. :)

  4. Interesting time in pub world. Thanks for the update.

  5. Hi C. Michael,

    Yes, in the same sense that cached web pages are on your computer; it's not clear how the downloading system will work as yet.

    Thanks for reading,


  6. Okay, so as a reader here I am at one end of an electronic bookshelf with 4 million books. Now how do I find one worth reading?