Google launches eBooks, cross-platform e-bookstore and reader
On Monday morning, Google officially unveiled its entry into the hotly competitve e-book market with an e-reader app called Google eBooks and a store called the Google eBookstore. The products are not new, but are rather a unification of many of Google's digital book efforts.
Users browse and download books in the Google eBookstore, which is currently 100% web-based. If you're using Google Books for Android, for example, hitting the "Get eBooks" button at the top of the screen launches the bookstore in a browser.
To buy Google eBooks, the user needs a Google Checkout account. However, Google's catalog of ebooks is also available through a number of partner resellers who accept other forms of payment. Alibris and Powell's Books, for example, accept PayPal and standard credit cards, so a Google Checkout account is not mandatory.
Google eBooks and the eBookstore were anything but surprise appearances on Monday. As far back as four years ago, Google's intention of selling e-books online was well-known, and it was originally going to be an extension of the Book Search project, which was itself an extension of the Google Print project.
Now that Google's commercial e-book endeavor is available to the public, the notion that the e-reader market is hardware driven should be more easily put to rest.