Me in the Google eBookstore, Plus Indie Stores and Google eBooks
Posted on December 6, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 29 Comments
Apparently Google opened its electronic bookstore, and because I know I’ll be asked about it, yes, I have books available in it, which you may find here. It’s not all of them yet, but I don’t imagine the rest of the Tor published books, at least, will be very far behind these (they may be available by searching on the titles; I didn’t really check that). I don’t know anything else about the Google eBookstore at the moment, except to say, oh goodie, yet another ebook reader to put on my computer/iPod/iPad/phone. On the other hand, the more online retailers for eBooks, the better.
Speaking of which, a number of independent bookstores are teaming up with Google to sell electronic books, which means it’s possible for you to go those independent bookstore Web sites and get your eBook from that local store (for example, here’s a listing for Zoe’s Tale at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego, which features a Google eBook version). Naturally, I think this is a lovely idea and a fine way to continue to support one’s local bookseller even if you’ve decided to go all in electronically.
Cool! I’m speechless.
Thank you and all authors who support independent bookstores. Without you, we’d be lost, especially in the ebook market. Google eBooks will help us compete with Amazon and the others. I don’t applaud online services, but I give Google credit for working with ABA to make this happen.
Personally, I’m not interested until it’s possible to read my books offline. And even then, my interest in ebooks in general these days is limited by the effed-up DRM crap. I don’t mind the DRM so much as such, though of course it’s much more of an inconvenience for honest customers than for thieves. It’s just that it’s implemented in ways which make me think their worries aren’t so much about dissuading thieves as about dissuading customers from buying a book from a competitor.
(I’ve pretty much given up on ever being able to do sensible things with ebooks like lending them or gifting them or selling them “used”. There’s no short-term profit in it, so it’s not going to happen.)
Very cool, and I am happy that it is supported by Mysterious Galaxy. I only buy my genre books there. I did not get an ereader until I knew that MG sold e-books as well.
I realize it is not a small independent book store, but I have purchased many of your book from Barnes and Noble. One of the reasons is I have a NOOK and therefore an account.
@bearpaw – I was right there with you but read this:
However, I don’t really want another reader. More to the point, I’m not sure how my Nook Color would work with it (it should according to that page, but I’m unclear about how). I don’t like the workflow, so, sorry, no Google ebooks for me. Give me an ePub that downloads to my NC and we’ll talk, esp as I’d like to support indie bookstores.
The link you mention results in 0 matches. Oh wait… I’m not in the US.
Am I the only one reading it as “Googley books”?
“Your search – inauthor:”John Scalzi” – did not match any documents.”
“The latest Google eBooks are not available for sale in your location, yet…
Google is working with publishers around the world to let you buy the latest ebooks from top authors. In the meantime, you can still browse millions of free and public domain Google eBooks and read them effortlessly across your devices.”
Well, I have a Nook as well, which I enjoy quite a bit. I’m not necessarily taking sides as to from whom one should buy eBooks. I like that there are rather more options now.
Here are first impressions.
I just gave the iPad app a quick look: so far, so meh. It doesn’t do landscape mode, it has no way of bookmarking a page that I can find, it doesn’t have dictionary support, nor any way of selecting text. Doubtless the app will improve, but right now as a reader it runs behind iBooks, Kindle, Nook, and Stanza.
The books themselves are readable on a lot of different platforms, but are either downloaded directly to the internal store on the device (in the case of ereaders) or accessed directly from the cloud (in the case of desktop and laptop computers): there are no EPUB or Mobi files that you can download to your Mac or PC as far as I can tell. All your books are belong to Google….
The bookstore boasts a lot of titles, but there are major lacunae: not a single book by Dorothy Dunnett, for example (a favorite of mine). By comparison: Kindle has 17 Dunnett books and Barnes & Noble has 16; only iBookstore has the same hole where her books should be, so coverage, at least right now, is not a compelling reason for me to go to Google. And, I feel strangely hesitant about giving Google my credit card info: not because I fear it will be stolen, but because I have no idea how they will use it in their Borg Collective of Personal Data.
I AM glad Google supports indie bookstores, but not so glad that I want to put all my virtual eggs in Google’s basket.
re #6 by rickg:
I saw that, but I also read somewhere that the offline option isn’t available yet.
Also, not clear whether it’s possible to use Stanza (or some other non-Google app) on an iPhone. If I get the time, I’ll give it a wing.
Google bookstore is using Adobe ePub (aka “Digital Editions”). The tech support page explicitly says the stuff can be made to work on iPad, Nook and Sony, so you don’t necessarily need to get a new gadget.
Still DRM-infested, so you may have to deal with that particular speed bump on your own terms.
Didn’t Google come under fire recently for scanning books in violation of copyright, because they had a problem with the difference between “out of print” and “in the public domain”?
Are they now selling ebooks to which they have no rights, or are all their deals through legitimate* publishers and/or authors directly?
I worry about these things. Occupational hazard, I guess.
*By “legitimate”, I mean publishers which actually own the ebook rights to the works in question. Not an editorial comment on small-press shops or self-publishing.
google ebooks, yawn…
Anyway, more exciting is the agent to the stars info. Of course the publisher is sticking it to ebook purchasers buy charging more for the ebook than the paperback. Oh, and google ebook store does not help in this case as it is $9.99 no matter if you go to Amazon, Nook or Google route.
I noted last week that the price drop for the ebook version might take a little time to roll through the various ebook stores, so it’s probably wise to wait another week or so before beginning genuine snark on the matter. I’ll note that my other ebooks with printed versions in MMPB are at the MMPB price point, so a general argument about “publishers sticking it to ebook purchasers” doesn’t hold in my particular case.
re #14 by georgmi:
The books Google is selling are the books that it legally has permission from the legitimate publishers to sell.
Out of curiosity, I did manage to fumblingly but successfully download the free version of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind In The Willows. So I decided to try to buy a Google edition of one of my favorite author’s works from my favorite online bookstore …
I bought the Google edition of our host’s After the Coup from Powell’s. but there seems to be some snafu in the authorization between my Powell’s account and my Google account. Google thinks that I’ve authorized Powell’s, but for some reason Powell’s website keeps complaining that I “seem to have lost connection with your Google eBooks account”, But when I click on the “reauthorize here” link and grant access, it simply repeats that I’ve “lost connection”. Just a go-live glitch, no doubt.
Whoops. I meant to say that I’m downloading to the Stanza app on my iPod Touch.
It is true that there are more and more options in the world today. I buy many books from Baen through Webscriptions. One of the reasons is that they are kind enough to make ebooks available through book bound CDs. to be honest most of my ebooks I have collected for 7 or 8 years. I have read them on Pocket PCs, iPod touches, laptops and now the NOOK, iPhone and iPad. I NEVER go any where without the NOOK and iPad.
Reading more, this is a non-starter for me. If I’m paying the same as other ebooks, I want the file in a standard format in my possession. There’s simply no way I’m paying full ebook prices unless I get that. The books can be DRMed, I’m OK with that (not wild about it because it presupposes I’m a criminal who’s going to steal content) but I’ll deal with it. There’s just no way I’m going to be tied to some non-standard thing Google’s come up with though. Give me ePub or give me… er… pie?
You can get either EPUB or PDF. Click “Read on your device”. At the bottom are two buttons for EPUB and PDF.
(It is DRMed, though.)
Unfortunately locked down by regionalisation as well as DRM.
Eventually “the rest of the world” will be allowed in, I expect. In the meantime, I will be over as Smashworlds, buying DRM-free Kristine Kathryn Rusch stories.
I’m in Seoul. I buy all my dead tree books from a small independent bookstore in Itaewon called Whatthebook? I’ve bought 4 Scalzi paperbacks there. On the other end of the spectrum, my friend no longer purchases books, rather downloads all his ebooks from torrents sites and reads them on his iRiver, which, in the past years, had to be serviced twice. He doesn’t feel guilty in the slightest. He hates DMRs.
Google…ice move! I’d love to support local bookstores, if I could, but it’s still locked out of Japan. and as iBooks is still limited to public domain books in Japan as well, it looks bad for the future.
Amazon still has my back, though.
@steve burnap – Maybe. But I have to go into the buy process to see that and the FAQ is ambiguous. That’s information that should be on the product page. Decent launch, but it needs refinement.
The google link she saying
Your search - inauthor:"John Scalzi" - did not match any documents.
Which is ungood. I got all excited then… poof!
Since I have approval with the major Mobile Phone Manufacturer’s to development mobile phones under an approved U.S. Patent Application number awarded on Oct. 29, 2010, I hope Google can take down their reader from on-line advertising and allow me to distribute that product. In addition, a copy of a pre-release beta version of all new phones like the Nexus Phone is appreciated so that I and a team of mine can write reviews and mobile phone application notes. If anyone reading this would like to apply for a position, please contact me with your credentials to my post office box.
Your ebooks are available from Amazon, Google, and Borders (and probably other places). I have readers for all three sitting on my Android phone and I really don’t see that much difference in the different programs – which store should I purchase from to get you the author the biggest cut? Or is there a difference?
Why? why? why?
Super disappointed that I cannot read these on my Nook or Kindles. eBooks can have DRM and still be read offline. I find that utterly ridiculous. I can’t see what about Old mans War makes it so unique that it cannot be read as an eBook other than tethered to a connection.