Google and Amazon try to make e-Books work

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Google and Amazon have a new e-book offering that I think might just work. And while Google has already made available public domain books that it has scanned in its uber "scanning every book ever published" project until now, they have only been available for free on the PC. Seriously, I'd much rather spend $10 on a Penguin Classic bound copy than read a book on a laptop or print out a PDF and deal with that mess.

And while it sounds much cleaner, e-Books have been slow to take off. Even though Amazon has been touting its Kindle and other digital readers have come on the market, there hasn't been a major shift to reading books on a digital devices in the same way that say, MP3s replaced a CD. Be it the comfort of holding a real book or not wanting to consume long form content on such a small device, digital books haven't seemed to the pass from "the next big thing" idea into the mass consumption model.

But I think that it is just a device issue. I'm not interested in carrying around a digital book reader and would actually rather just carry a book. It's not really so convenient, after all, it's not like I need 20 books for a flight, they same way I might want 20 albums which fit so compactly onto an iPod. But my iPhone on the other hand, I'll carry that. The book reader app on the iPhone is so convenient and it is so cool to be able to download a Mark Twain book just before a flight when I may have forgotten something to read. And after all, it is not a new device, it is just my phone/computer/music player/camera that I carry with me every day.

That is why I think that this new partnership between Google and Amazon, that will bring about 1.5 million books to iPhones and Google Androids and so on, will work. It is convenient and it has a great value offering.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/technology/internet/06google.html?_r=1

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