Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Google eBooks Rant

Google recently launched their eBooks product that allows you to buy books and read them on a multitude of devices. I've taken a look at the service and felt compelled to make a few comments.

First, google is offering book optionally(it's up to the publisher) using Adobe's DRM system. I understand that this is what most publishers are requiring before releasing digital versions of their product. However, some smaller or more independent publishers might like to offer more flexibility to their customers by not locking them into a DRM scheme. I applaud Google for making this an option but the fact is they don't let the user know what titles have DRM and what titles do not. I would appreciate them letting their consumers know when they get locked into DRM. That being said a nice feature of buying from Google eBooks is being able to read the book across a multitude of devices. You can read a book on the web, on a tablet or eReader, and on an iOS or Android device. They also offer the ability to download the book in ePub or PDF format. Having your book in an open format such as ePub without DRM is really where I would like to see the industry moving towards and informing consumers of what titles have DRM would allow me to better vote with my dollars.

Second, the Android app is pretty bare-bones and now at all close to my favorite mobile reading app Aldiko. It doesn't support landscape mode or changing font colors which make night reading a bit harsh. I would use this service without reservation if I could be sure that the title I'm purchasing could be used in the reading software of my choosing.

Lastly, I can appreciate Google giving new life to older titles as well as offering new and public domain titles. Cross platform usability is a shure plus of the service. I just wish that Google had been able to put more pressure on publishers to stop using DRM in their business model as Amazon was able to do with their MP3 service.
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