On Monday, Google announced its semi-eponymous Google eBooks offering — its effort to challenge competitor Apple and chip away at the ebook dominance of Amazon. We installed the Google Books app on our iPad, played with it for a couple of hours, and came to the conclusion that Amazon and its Kindle (and Kindle app) have little …
I want my books vendor-neutral!
(which is an important reason I bought open, multi-format BeBook readers in preference to tied/proprietary/vendor format ones, both for myself and my nearest-and-dearest).
But I do love the new Kindle. Calibre allows anything to be put on it so I really don't mind about this particular propietry wank.
I'm also not shopping Kindle
It's very easy to fall for the Kindle pricing, but it comes at a price. Lock in.
Thanks but no thanks, already ordered the much superior and open Sony PRS-650. I can now choose who I buy my content from.
It's as vendor neutral as it can get
To be fair Google offer either PDF or ePub (with or without Adobe DRM - depending on the publisher).
They also provide instructions on getting your Google eBooks onto your Sony, nook etc.
The only way they could get more vendor neutral is scrapping the DRM - which they do on some books, but that is far more to do with publisher paranoia. It's about as open as it's going to get at the moment.
Access to scanned pages is an excellent feature
I get sick of finding sentences in free e-books that seem to be garbled so that I suspect it was misconverted but I don't have the original to check. In fact, most of the free e-books in Amazon don't even tell you which printed edition they are supposedly derived from. Probably someone just found the text online somewhere, threw away any meta-info and converted it. And maybe a cat ran across the keyboard while they had it open in an editor. Who knows?
There's a problem with your 'review'
You're far too concerned about how the app looks and how snappy the page turns are and what the page turn animation looks like. The mere fact that you're doing this on an ipad indicates that the contents are secondary; you only want a pretty app, not an app that serves books to you or whether Google Books will have a lot of titles available to you or not.
Am I understanding this right that Google books are streamed from 'the cloud' as you read them? Please tell me that there's an option to pre-download them to access them straight from the device!
Re : option to pre-download
"We support offline reading in our mobile apps, where you can select books to be downloaded to your app for reading on the go"
Short answer: yes
I have the app on my Android tablet and it downloads and caches the books. Once it downloads (there's a progress bar under the book) you can disconnect the network and read happily.
What about pricing?
Second only to availability, surely pricing is one of the most important comparisons?
How does Google's pricing of eBooks compare to Kindle's? I've generally found the (UK) Kindle eBook pricing to be acceptable, except for when it says "price set by publisher" - in those cases it's set higher than the paperback price, which is just silly.
Kindle app - Stanza link
I suspect one of the reasons the Kindle app seems so mature WRT features etc is that Amazon had the good sense and taste to buy Lexcycle, the company behind the free Stanza reader for iOS devices, and incorporate some of its best features in to the Kindle app.
No life before iOS
How US-centric... Long before even iOS conception Amazon bought European company MobiPocket together with eBook store and fine MobiReader. Current Kindle Reader is considerably degraded clone of MobiReader, and Kindle Book format is Mobi format with a few bits of file header changed...
Very true used to love MobiReader on my old PDA, it first showed me how handy eBook readers would be!
Now using FBReader on Android and Calibre on my PC, I can buy book from anywhere and put them on my 4" phone, who on earth would want to cart an iPad around, it's bigger and heavier than a hardback!
US-Centric? I think not...
Weird, last time I looked I was in the UK. Unless someone moved Cheshire while no-one was looking...
And yes, I knew about the Mobi connection, too.
Which part of my point are you actually arguing with, because half of your response is just plain wrong, and the rest seems to be a knee-jerk anti-iOS rant.
Are you actually trying to say that Amazon didn't buy Lexcycle so they could make the Kindle reader better? Because they did in fact buy Lexcycle, and I seriously doubt they did it just for teh lulz....
Kindle and Stanza are available on the iPhone too (in fact started out there rather than on the iPad), so no necessity to cart an iPad around if you use iOS either. Not arguing with your choice of phone/OS/software, in fact agreeing with you that a phone makes for as more portable reading solution.
What I don't have is any great nostalgia for PalmOS and its software - I went from a Psion Series 3 to a Handspring Treo, which handily combined phone and PDA but was like switching from an e-Type to a Lada in most other ways.
We can at least agree on Calibre, which is frankly wonderful.
The part I am arguing with is...
...that all good features of Kindle Reader are from Stanza. I retract 'US-centric' although you did sound like some Californian Apple fan. I have nothing against iOS, it has its uses seemingly, simply it is not the starting point of human evolution...
About reason for buying Lexcycle...
...I do not know really. They bought Mobipocket to kill the competition...
Will be very handy for books with diagrams, etc.
diagrams - and words too weird for normal vision
And those of use with less than perfect vision... I tend to set the text size at the edge of my comfortable focus range so I get more words per page flip. so a touch to zoom would be excellent for the words you just can't quite make out - much better than having to up the zoom all the time just in case.
Google and product development.....
"...Mountain View has made it a practice to release apps when they're merely half-baked...", or, in the case of BungleEarth for 64 bit LInux, before they are merely warm.
Maybe they are too close to the Mountain there on the west coast and are suffering from oxygen starvation. But I don't see how they can have a View at all - not when the management has its corporate head so far up the anterior portion of its own alimentary canal that all it can hear in the dark are the echoes of its own propaganda.
It's all in the tradition long-beloved of snake-oil salesmen: promise a lot today, deliver a little, tomrrow - so you can promise it all over again in the future, in a different bottle.
Why no mention? Its the best ebook app I have used. Multiple libraries including paid ones like Baen's and works beautifly.
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