Archive for category ebooks

Google + Ebooks = ?

Yesterday, Google announced it’s entrance into the ebook world. Not just the scanning and making available of older texts, but honest-to-goodness actual ebook sales. Of current books.

And I’m not (currently) that impressed.

Here’s why.

The cloud. It’s a fickle thing that requires having a connection if you want to read something. But what if there’s a situation where no reliable connection is available (road trips, flights, or similar situations)?

Pricing. Some of the books that I’ve looked up are priced higher than what’s available on the Nook or through Amazon. Offset by this are tons of free (scanned) texts for older books. Maybe it’s a trade off, but it’s a barrier for me to see any pronounced switching over.

A few benefits that I can see, though.

The cloud. It’s a double edged sword to consider. At some point virtual “shelf-space” could become an issue on a restricted devices (that’s why I went for a 64GB iPad when I weighed all of the options… an old lesson from my father “get as much hard drive as you can up front”). By storing all of the “books” off-device, then less space-burn when you get close to maxing out device-based storage. (But Barnes & Noble’s Nook app sort of does the same thing – downloads a marer or place holder, but doesn’t pull the full test down unless told to.)

“Free” books. Older books, anyway. I have (inherited) a large collection of books that are now out-of-print. If they are available electronically, then I might be able to read some of the older books [mostly paperback] without fear of accelerated deterioration carrying the copies around.

Too early to tell. The multi-platform, cross-syncing apps are a very big advantage (part of the reason why I have set up camp in the B&N corner). Product availablility appears to be there, but it’s a pain to navigate (like the web search, it’s by keyword. Enter a book title, you’ll still get dozens of unrelated hits if the word sequence matches.). There is the ability to download the files and cross-import to other readers (which is time consuming, but better than I originally thought). I’m probably going to look at things a little more, but I don’t anticipate changing over to Google for my ebooks yet.

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E = …?

Since I have officially finished reading my first ebook, I have added a designation to my “Currently Reading”… Yeap… intuitive you probably already guessed it… an “E”, well “(E)” to be specific. I’ve read a couple of short stories, or pieces of magazines, but finally snuck in a book so I could finish something for a class.

And the jury is still mixed. Sort of.

I’m reading on an iPad (cross platform: I’ve got both Nook & Kindle apps loaded, as well as iBooks), and the experiences have generally been positive… much better than my attempts to run the Nook app on a Droid 2 (synching issues). Really, the only issue I’ve had to grumble about is the lack of cross-platform availability for some titles I’m interested in. Examples: Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series – there are a couple of titles not available for the Nook, but are available through Kindle. Neil Peart’s books that are available electronically on Kindle, aren’t anywhere else.

I like the appearance and functionality of iBooks, but Nook’s got so many more titles and options available, and in theory has cross platform support (has worked between an iPad & iPod Touch… not so much with the Droid app, and some issues with the PC client). And Nook’s easier to add titles to (over 3000 – yes, that’s thousand – samples so far). Kindle hassn’t impressed me, other than as an alternate venue to find titles – like Peart’s books, or Cherie Priest’s Clementine.

Yes, I said samples a moment ago. Many of them are books that I already own copies of and am just using as place markers for the “library” (Grafton, Gaiman, some Stross and Doctorow, among others). Many of them are back-cannon collections for writer’s I like, have an interest in reading (the rest of Stross, Doctorow, Scalzi, King). Many of them, though, fall into the “oooh, shiny” category, which is where I think Nook has the market advantage. I like to wander the shelves and look at books. I’m weird that way, always have been, but with the marvel of cell phone cameras, I can now take a picture of a book that looks interesting, look it up online, *click* a sample is added to the library for me to check out later. Much better for the discouragement of random impulse buying with triple digit receipts (I mentioned here before where two trips to B&N in a week netted me about 20 books, just because I was bored and wandered the shelves).

I guess the real reason I say the jury is still sort of out stems from moments like that… I still have a boatload of books – physical paper, bound, printed things – on my shelves begging to be read, many of which are more likely out of print, or haven’t been transitioned over to ebooks yet (inherited collections). Which means not a frequent digesting of ebooks… yet. Once I finish this Master’s Degree thing, I may have some increased opportunities to play with.

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