Today Google launched their own e-book store with dedicated shopping and reading apps for iPhone and Android. Currently, the store is limited to the U.S., but offers over 3 million titles to anyone with an Android 2.1 device or iOS 3.0 device and up. You can do searches within an e-book, adjust text formatting for optimal reading, store e-books locally for offline reading, look up background information on e-books, and seamlessly sync where you leave off reading so you can pick up again on either your computer, tablet, or smartphone. The e-books will be sold in ePub and PDF format, making for easy portability and sideloading, though that kind of thing will be limited by publisher-mandated DRM.
I suspect through tighter integration with the native OS and services, the Google eBook store will quickly become a more palatable choice than Kindle for anyone buying e-books on an Android tablet, but a big part of the pitch is the matter of choice, so Google probably won’t completely sideswipe Amazon or the other e-book stores. I’d definitely like to see this app find its way to the BlackBerry PlayBook for launch, seeing as Kobo and Kindle are already lined up. As for dedicated e-reader devices, the Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Sony’s Reader will be able to play nice with the new store.
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