Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Google Publishing?

I really don't want this to turn into another Google Blog, so I promise that I'll try and stop talking about them. Well, I will if they quit doing cool stuff.


Anyway, our daily edition of Google News comes from ZDnet, in an article on Google getting into the Publishing world (good luck, Google - you kinda pissed everyone off with that whole free-books-online thing):

"The new offering would allow people to sign in and purchase immediate, browser-based access to books, Google said on its site. Purchasers would not, however, be allowed to save a copy of the book to their computer or to otherwise copy pages from the book."

This both makes me happy and makes me sad. I like Google - and trying to bring books to people is good. Plus, I can easily see them coming up with a log-in service that would track which books you have access to, so that no matter what computer you access your account from, you'll always have access to your ebooks. They could even incorporate it into their Gmail. The possibilities are endless for this. Not to mention the wonders it could do for the epub industry. Yay! for Google and accessibility.

But then there are eReaders - always the Catch 22 when talking about ebooks. Yeah, a good one is probably still not close enough for me to be able to afford it - but it's going to happen, probably in the next few years. Is Google going to have their own proprietary format for the texts they provide access to? If so, will it be compatible with an eReader? If it is (not sure if eReaders are happy with 'browser-based') , what if I'm on a plane, or on a roadtrip, or on the beach - and I want to read my ebooks? How in the world will I get Internet access in order to get to my books? Boo! for Google. Unless Google really does have those plans for a world-wide wireless network hidden somewhere. Then, Yay! for Google.

I'm sure that there are going to people upset that Google will charge for these books (some peopel seem to think that everything Google does should be free - I've met several). I'm not one of them. They have to make money somehow, and they have to pay those legal fees to deal with the publishers suing them over free access. It's going to be hilarious if they fund those lawsuits with the money they make off the sale of ebooks. :)

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