Posted by: crudbasher | December 6, 2010

My Take On Google’s New E-Book Store

As we look at computer technology there is something important to keep in mind.  We can sometimes get hung up on display resolutions, Gigs of storage, Internet access speeds, but all this is only a means to an end.  It’s what we do with all this technology that is important.

As I have seen various eBook readers come out over the last few years I have always thought they were transient in nature.  First, as technology progresses it gets cheaper for a given level of technology. You could not have made the eBook readers for the current price 5 years ago.  By the same token in 5 years time you will be able to get a full, powerful computer for less cost than a eBook reader now.  Therefore I quickly concluded that the single function eBook reader will have a very limited window of opportunity to succeed.

The iPad is the first blow against the eBook reader market.  It is a bit more expensive than a Kindle, but that won’t stay that way for long.  Next year will bring a new model iPad, which means more than likely the current one will drop in price a lot.  This will force stand alone eReaders to drop in price (which technology will facilitate easily)

We are going to reach a point before 2020 where computers are just commodity items.  They will be everywhere and in everything.  You can think of this as a computational substrate embedded into our world.  Much of this will be provided by cell phones.  They will be able to connect up wirelessly to whatever display and input devices are nearby.  These various devices will all function seemlessly because they all operate on data from the cloud.

So what does this all have to do with the Google E-Book store?  I think Google is taking the long view in this.  They are making a platform agnostic service that will outlive the various readers out now.  Every hardware maker will want to have a closed ecosystem to lock their customers into their particular device.  For example, I don’t want to purchase an eBook that can only be viewed on an iPad.  I want to be able to read my eBooks anywhere I am.  That’s what Google eBooks is doing.  They are focusing on what we do with computers, now how we do it.

How does this relate to education?

Education tends to move more slowly than other areas of society.  They also have a large legacy base of IT already.  By going with Google EBooks, a school will be assured that 1. all of their existing computers can read the eBooks 2. Any extra devices their students bring to school will also be able to read the eBooks, and 3. they have “future proofed” their technology.

This move by Google is certainly not a surprise and it plays to their strengths. It makes me feel better about investing in eBooks in the future.  How about you?

By the way, if you want some good background on the new Google E-Book store check out this great story from my friends at Edudemic.

  • Cloud based Google e-book store

    tags: technology google ebook nell

    • Watch out Amazon and move over Apple, because Google is about to launch its e-book store and it’s likely to change everything. Dubbed “Google Editions,” the store is said to have more than a half million titles that will be readable on nearly any device that can access the Web… and it will be up and running before the end of the month.
    • The big news here, of course, is that Google’s version of the e-book is Web-based and therefore device agnostic. That is, it doesn’t matter if you have an iPhone, iPad, Android, desktop, netbook or whatever else – as long as you can get on the Web, you can read a book you buy from Google.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Responses

  1. I just recently got a Kindle. I love it! I wish that this thing was around when I was in school. All those days lugging books around!

    I found it interesting when they did a recent study to evaluate how college students reacted to the e-readers passed out on campus. (Sorry, I don’t remember where I read it.) And most of the reactions were in favor of BOOKS! vs. the ereaders. I wonder if this is one of those technologies that has to be trained. I also wonder if it’s one that just has to be perfected- I mean, I love my Kindle, but I wish I could jump between chapter and pages in the book a bit easier than I can.

    • I have also noticed that certain features are missing from the eReaders. I’m sure those will come fairly quickly though. Let’s look at eReaders as textbook replacements in about 6 more months. There will be a lot more textbook offerings and they should work better too.

      Thanks for commenting!


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