This blog post shall examine the activity which Google has had in the past with regard to the e-Book market and also look at the impact of this on their recent activity in the eReader market specifically.
Google’s presence in the digital publishing market to date is based primarily around the following products offerings.
Google Books – A portal where books may be Purchased, Borrowed or downloaded for free
Google’s eReader device – the iRiver Story HD which really is an adoption of the Google e-Books model by iRiver, the device is nonetheless referred to as the Google e-book reader.
Google’s Prestigio App – updated in April of 2012 Google’s e-book app offers mobile book reading.
Google Books was initially launched in 2004 under the title ‘Google Print’ at the Frankfurt Book Show, the initial inception for Google Print was to create a database of digital content where books can be searched and results displayed in Search engine result pages (SERPs).Later this progressed to providing Publications which are out of copyright as available to read, download or to print. As time progressed various academic institutions agreed to provide content for the platform. The device used by Google to scan the books is called the Elphel 323 which can scan 1000 pages per hour. In August 2010 it was announced by Google that it was their intention to digitize all known books by the end of the decade. For more information on Google Books follow this wiki link.
The ‘Google’ eReader device was not really a Google Device in the same sense that a Samsung Galaxy Cell phone which runs Android is not a Google Device either.
The iRiver device offers integration with the Google Books platform allowing reader’s to download any of the ‘Fair Usage’ publications over the air directly to the device. It was the first to do so and launched in July 2011 to limited fan fare. The iRiver was unique in that it provided an out of the box connection to free content over the air. For more information on iRiver take a look at the Official Google Blog here.
In December 2010 the Google eBooks store opened, by 2012 this became Google Play which is a single e-commerce platform to purchase and synchronize content across devices wirelessly. Books are a key part of this proposition. In April of 2012 the Prestigio App was updated and introduced new features which make it a real proposition over other eReader apps. The one element to watch however being that books read in Prestigio must be DRM free.
The key features for Google Prestigio include its adjustable fonts, adjustable backgrounds, a night mode and screen brightness adjustment. Publications purchased with DRM protection are not welcome however limiting the device for fully legal use, the removal of DRM protection from content is not condoned and can present quite the stumbling block for many. Publications may also be purchased via Prestigio directly or from the Play store. Prestigio is epub compatible only.
The possibilities offered by Google and their products is the simplicity of synchronized publications across devices, as this applies across devices from Android to Apple the drawback of their offering is a limited number of titles and the lack of support for DRM protected content on their Mobile App.
Also at present the proposition from Google lacks an on-line magazine publishing element.
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