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Google eBookstore Launched

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the moving-the-pieces-into-place dept.

Books 88

angrytuna writes "The New York Times is running an article this morning about the launch of the Google ebook store. Independent bookstores such as Powell's, based in Portland, OR, have partnered with Google in this, selling the format directly in addition to their other ebook offerings. The ebooks appear to rely on Adobe Digital Editions for DRM; instructions are provided to transfer from the 'cloud' to a handheld device. iOS and Android have a dedicated app for accessing the store, and will download for offline immediately; other clients like the Nook and Sony eReader seem to be relying on the ADE platform to manage the transfer for offline reading." NPR tried it out on a few different devices and posted their experience.

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Kindle support? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464534)

I own a Nook, but I am a bit curious as to what this move means for Amazon. Up until now they've been the only ones using .mobi as a file format on their Kindle, and haven't added any support for epub at all, as far as I can tell.

It would be nice to be able to buy ebooks at amazon that have DRM, but not be stuck using a Kindle. Not that I think DRM is a great thing.

No (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464568)

According to the NPR article:

Google is advertising the store as compatible with computers, obviously (for those who want to read that way), but also with iPads and iPhones, Android devices, and standalone e-readers including Sony and Nook devices as well as others that run Adobe Digital Editions. (But not your Kindle, there, buddy.)

Re:No (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464616)

I know that, but what I'm wondering about is at what point does Amazon admit that their format lost and add support for epub to their product. And hopefully drop .mobi as a failed file format.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464804)

I know that, but what I'm wondering about is at what point does Amazon admit that their format lost and add support for epub to their product. And hopefully drop .mobi as a failed file format.

When the Kindle stops dominating the market. Hard to define them as a "loser" otherwise.

No Point of Failure in Sight (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464844)

I know that, but what I'm wondering about is at what point does Amazon admit that their format lost and add support for epub to their product. And hopefully drop .mobi as a failed file format.

Well, earlier this year, Amazon was enjoying 90% of the eBook market share [wsj.com] . It's projected to plummet over the next five years and I think the iPad gobbled up 22% of the eBook marketshare instantly [i4u.com] . Of course, I would bet that 22% was growth, not switch. Like, I think it's safe to say most people who bought iPads didn't sell/disable their Kindles immediately afterward and they probably had no eReader to begin with. I'm guessing that the Kindle still enjoys large numbers and has a comfortable lead still in market share [ecommercetimes.com] .

At what point does Amazon admit defeat in this? Somewhere way down the road. If (as the article above predicts) they're still at 35% of the marketshare five years from now, then I'd say that it won't be happening until after then.

So aside from all that, you are dependent on Amazon just genuinely caring about the end user experience and giving up some lock-in that they've already established. *snicker*

Personally I'm making due with my android phone and awaiting the color readers (Hanvon, etc) as I'm really interested in what this could do for the graphic novel/comic industry. For too long it's been dominated by large publishers.

Re:No Point of Failure in Sight (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465374)

Personally I'm making due with my android phone and awaiting the color readers (Hanvon, etc) as I'm really interested in what this could do for the graphic novel/comic industry. For too long it's been dominated by large publishers.

Even the largest publishers in the U.S. comics industry cannot be called "large," unless you mean they are profitable because they are able to spin their characters into movie, TV, and merchandising tie-ins. But comics sales have been declining for at least 20 years, which has given plenty of small publishers opportunities to succeed in the same way as the Disney- or Warner-owned ones (on a relative scale). Look at Scott Pilgrim, Whiteout, 30 Days of Night, etc.

Re:No Point of Failure in Sight (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465640)

I'm not dependent upon them for anything. I specifically went with a Nook over a Kindle because I wasn't interested in being held hostage like that. As it is, I can move my files to several other ebook readers.

If you read that last link, Kindle owners aren't terribly satisfied and they only make up about a half of the market. Which means that only about a quarter of the current market is made up with satisfied Kindle owners. I do genuinely wonder if that would be the case if B&N and Sony actually bothered to advertise. This is just like the MP3 player days all over again where every MP3 player became an iPod in the eyes of many.

But, really, 90% isn't a particularly meaningful number at the point you're referencing. It's easy to put up numbers like that in a new market, it's not a shocker that they've already dropped to a bit over half.

Re:No Point of Failure in Sight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34486570)

But you will still be held hostage by their DRM anyway. So what if it's epub. It's still migration-blocked. If it lacked DRM you could Calibre and reconvert in a snap.

Re:No Point of Failure in Sight (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465732)

The Nook color is out for $250. Did a Google search and it comes up as the first non sponsored ad. It doesn't have the battery life of the Nook I expect, but not a bad price for a 7" color Android tablet.
This kind of makes me wish I hadn't bought the wifi nook already, it is much better for the cost.

Battery Life (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465824)

This kind of makes me wish I hadn't bought the wifi nook already, it is much better for the cost.

Take heart, your regular Nook gets 10 days sans Wifi while the color gets 8 hours [arstechnica.com] . So I wouldn't go kicking yourself if you have ever gone extended periods without recharging.

And I should have specified color E-ink [nytimes.com] as it will give comparable periods of use with black and white. It might not be as great with colors like the color Nook's VividView technology but it will last many days. And it will probably be twice as expensive, that's why I'm waiting and watching. For reading, I'm guessing it's going to best Apple's LCD based iPad. We shall see though.

Re:No Point of Failure in Sight (1)

steveg (55825) | more than 3 years ago | (#34467702)

It might be a pretty decent Android tablet, but it won't be as good as a book reader. Battery life aside, the screen won't be nearly as usable outside in the sun. The screen has to refresh, like every other LCD, and it has a backlight. Both of those are hard on the eyes if you read for extended periods.

Some people like the ability to read in the dark. I prefer the ability to read in the light. In the summer, I spend a fair amount of time on the patio outside reading. My e-ink screens are great for that, an LCD not so much.

Re:No Point of Failure in Sight (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468436)

I'm not locked in - I strip the DRM from every Kindle book I buy although that's few and far between since the moron publishers jacked prices to the Moon.

what I want to know is can inept strip the DRM from these books? http://imaddicted.ca/ebooks/using-inept-to-strip-drm/ [imaddicted.ca]

Re:No (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465012)

Not as long as they keep making a fortune from the Amazon Kindle store. But it's not that hard to read DRM-restricted .epub files on your Kindle actually. It's a quite inept solution but it works.

Re:No (2)

joebok (457904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465706)

It is probably illegal to ask, but how?

I am a long-time Kindle user so my (DRMed) library is all the .mobi based Amazon format. When I made that plunge, I thought (hoped) that the Amazon dominance would set the file format. Oh well. But the ubiquity of the Kindle reader app means I can currently read all of my content on every device I have (BB to iPad to Kindle to PC/Mac) - and they even keep in sync with each other - so I can use whichever device or pc is handy at the time.

I have converted DRM-free ePub (and other) stuff with Calibre to whatever format I want, but protected ePub is a barrier to me - so I have not bought any. So far I haven't run across anything I wanted that I could not get for the Kindle, but that is surely only a matter of time.

Re:No (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34466068)

First you have to install Adobe Digital Editions [adobe.com] for Windows (WINE should work) or OSX and start it at least once. Then you find (Google) a Python script called "ineptkey" (there is a Windows version and a Mac version) and "ineptepub". Run ineptkey and it will create a file called adeptkey.der with the decryption key used by your Digital Editions installation. Add DRM:ed epub to your Digital Editions library, find the file it creates in your home directory (on OSX it's $HOME/Documents/Digital Editions/) and run the ineptepub script on it. Voila, a DRM-free version that can be converted to mobi using Calibre.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468090)

Search for I love cabbages.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34465456)

Why would they drop their format?

Far more likley would be adding Adobe Digital editions support (like how they added PDF support), and continuing to provide book in their store in their proprietary format.

Alternatively they will provide conversuon service whereby you email the file to your kindel and they charge you a fee for converting it to their proprietary format.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468856)

I would think that there is no reason Kindle should continue with their format otherwise they are bound to lose.

"To badly paraphrase an old American anti-drug commercial, "Eric Schmidt, Microsoft learned it by watching you!"

Microsoft was similarly appalled by this kind of behavior a decade ago when Eric Schmidt (at Novell and Sun) and other Microsoft competitors funded some shadowy organizations like ProComp, CCIA, and ECIS to run backdoor lobbying campaigns against Microsoft. They even funded the EXACT SAME LAWYER, Gary Reback, to fly around the United States and Europe lobbying antitrust bodies to file suits against Microsoft.

After years of battling these kinds of tactics, Microsoft learned the most important lesson about them: they work. If you want to voice your moral outrage at these tactics, however, you'd be better served by targeting the teacher, not the student." by some commenter of a webpage.

The owner of Foundem.co.uk who is going after Google is the same guy who lobbied to bring antitrust against Microsoft, but all the comment section posters and news organizations avoided this fact, causing comment section posters to think this guy didn't have a valid point because he must have been funded by Microsoft (which I think even if he was funded by Microsoft this is irrelevant since he WENT AFTER Microsoft). Foundem is a vertical search engine, it was down ranked because it competes with Google not because it's a spammy site (like all domain-name parked websites Google makes money off from advertisements). Go look for yourself, it's just another eBay.

Say you don't care about any of that:
"Today we have zero market share in Chrome OS because it is not shipping. Imagine a scenario where we got to 80% market share with a free product, which I think is unlikely. Let's say we go into the evil room and decide to start charging. A competitor would be able to take the code that we had and continue to offer our business model, while our new business model runs us into the ground. That is why open source provides a protection." Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google
http://techcrunch.com/2009/10/07/schmidt-we-have-not-yet-found-the-evil-room/ [techcrunch.com]

Emphasis mine. First of all, collecting personal information is a cost, just like advertisements, so it is by definition NOT free. Second, when did charging for something make you evil? Why is giving us "free" stuff, or shoving it in our face (you can't escape YouTube etc.) and laughing all the way to the bank, hoping people lose their jobs (Chrome OS engineer said this) and bullying competitors (Skyhook Vs Andy Rubin Head of Android) better than paying for something legitimately and not lying to our faces with false advertising? We know the answer, it's not. I love Schmidt's definition of "evil"

Oh and off topic: Google paid developers to port their iPhone apps to Android, but every news organisation has glossed over this fact and making out Microsoft is desperate with Window Phone 7. There's nothing unethical about paying developers to port application to your platform.

For the record, I hate Microsoft and run Ubuntu 10.10.

Re:Kindle support? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465208)

I own a Nook, but I am a bit curious as to what this move means for Amazon. Up until now they've been the only ones using .mobi as a file format on their Kindle, and haven't added any support for epub at all, as far as I can tell.

It would be nice to be able to buy ebooks at amazon that have DRM, but not be stuck using a Kindle. Not that I think DRM is a great thing.

If you own the nook Color, you could root it and install the Kindle for Android app... get the best of both ebook worlds.

Re:Kindle support? (1)

DuckFOO (736584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34466944)

I've wondered what Amazon's reaction would be if B&N actually allowed the Kindle app to be installed and run on non-rooted Nook Colors.

Re:Kindle support? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465618)

from what i can tell all the books are scanned in, including the new ones

this is pretty bad since i like to read books in landscape mode on my iphone

on the plus side they have a huge selection of project Gutenberg books

Re:Kindle support? (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34466814)

from what i can tell all the books are scanned in, including the new ones

The ones that only have scanned page images are listed as "Better for larger screens". The ones without that notation also have reflowable text. (The scanned page images are PDF, the reflowable text is ePub, as I understand it.)

(An interesting effect is that the reflowed text lists the original page number -- or range of page numbers -- from the scanned source material corresponding to the text on the screen.)

Re:Kindle support? (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34466532)

>> It would be nice to be able to buy ebooks at amazon that have DRM, but not be stuck using a Kindle. Not that I think DRM is a great thing.

OR it would be nice to be able to buy ebooks from anywhere but not be stuck with one device. I certainly think DRM is completely useless. Amazon did pretty good with music market (mp3) because they were trying to catch up with apple, but with ebooks, they are not doing the same unfortunately.

Re:Kindle support? (1)

grking (965233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471210)

I'm not a DRM lovely either, but I did hear a fairly convincing argument for DRM encumbered ebooks from libraries. With the move to ebooks in the future and the eventual demise of paper books how are libraries to function? DRM provides a mechanism whereby libraries could electronically lend a document for a limited amount of time. I'm guessing it would be pretty hard to convince a publisher to agree to place their book in a library which simply gave away DRM free versions of their ebooks.

Saying that, I've already jailbroken [mobileread.com] my Kindle (although that was only to get rid of the awful default screensavers).

Re:Kindle support? (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480562)

You can get your Kindle version at Pirate Bay. I'm serious about that. Fuck them if they don't want to sell you something. It's not like they're the only supplier, or even have the best price. And their moral grounding is suspicious.

ugg (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464546)

Don't tell me the ebooks can only be opened with adobe pdf reader? If so I really don't think it will last, I hate adobes pdf reader, so slow and clunky.

Re:ugg (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464562)

The app is Adobe Editions, and it's a completely different app. Chances are good that it's already installed on the computer of most people with an ebook reader. I think the Kindle right now is the only one that doesn't support the format.

Re:ugg (2)

fader (107759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464742)

The app is Adobe Editions, and it's a completely different app. Chances are good that it's already installed on the computer of most people with an ebook reader.

... unless they run Linux, which Adobe promised a DE client for but never delivered. Unfortunately for me, this means I won't be reading any Google books on my nook, which is a shame.

Re:ugg (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465320)

unless they run Linux, which Adobe promised a DE client for but never delivered.

I've never had a reason to try it, but I've seen comments that DE works fine under WINE.

Re:ugg (1)

fader (107759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465478)

It does work to an extent, but you can't do things like transfer an ebook to an ereader, rendering it basically useless for me. YMMV.

Re:ugg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468388)

Although I kinda hate suggesting this, it is possible to strip the DRM off of adobe editions epub files fairly easily. There are python scripts that find the key in adobe digital editions and use that key to decrypt the epub files. I would expect it is easy to get wine working well enough to grab the key, then decrypt and run other software to load it onto an ereader.

For my Sony ebook reader, all the books I buy from the official store are immediately stripped of their DRM and loaded into Calibre to manage my collection ( http://calibre-ebook.com/ ). The Sony software is crap, but the integration with digital editions makes removing the DRM fairly painless and Calibre is excellent for managing books. I'm looking at the google store to see if I can skip the step that forces me to use the Sony software to download books, and see if I can download from google, strip the DRM without opening any other program, then load it into Calibre.

All that said, DRM is a horrible idea to start with. Forcing customers to jump through hoops in order to use content they purchased is idiotic, but at least the digital editions DRM is easier and more consistent than the Kindle DRM. I found a ton of different versions of kindle DRM removal software before I found one that worked, and Amazon keeps changing their DRM scheme in an attempt to stay ahead. In reality, all their DRM is crackable, and they make temporary headway at the expense of inconveniencing their customers. I will never again buy an ebook from Amazon if I can avoid it.

Re:ugg (1)

khb (266593) | more than 3 years ago | (#34467406)

Google books also are downloadable in EPUB; and the Google site has explicit instructions for how to work with a nook.

What am I missing?

Re:ugg (1)

khb (266593) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480174)

Not that anyone is likely to be reading this far down with such a silly subject line, but for grins I bought a book from the new google store, "saved to device" told the download chooser to open it with /usr/bin/calibre and it "just worked" and then downloading it into a nook "just worked".

Doesn't change the sins of DRM, etc. but google did a bang up job of integrating with existing hw.

Nicely done.

Are you tolling? (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464586)

Don't tell me the ebooks can only be opened with adobe pdf reader? If so I really don't think it will last, I hate adobes pdf reader, so slow and clunky.

Then why do you use it when there is a selection of alternative PDF readers?

Boo Yaaaah! (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464548)

Say goodbye to Amazon! The writing is on the, er, eTablet...

Re:Boo Yaaaah! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465602)

Tables are good for their intended uses, but for long reading sessions, I want my eInk - and with a large screen, too. Today, only Kindle DX offers that for a reasonable price.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you have to buy books from Amazon. Heck, you could just as well buy them from Google - Adobe DRM has been cracked a while ago and tools to strip it are available.

Re:Boo Yaaaah! (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471524)

For reading novels I think 6" (and even 5") screens are fine, especially with the new higher contrast Pearl screens that Sony PRS-350/650/950, Kindle 3 and Kindle DX Graphite use. Larger screens are only really needed when reading PDF:s and technical documents with illustrations.

I would never read a novel on a backlighed screen like LCD/LED (read: a tablet) though. I'd rather print the thing and carry around a ring binder full of papers than read on an LCD. E-readers rule!

Re:Boo Yaaaah! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471608)

For reading novels I think 6" (and even 5") screens are fine, especially with the new higher contrast Pearl screens that Sony PRS-350/650/950, Kindle 3 and Kindle DX Graphite use. Larger screens are only really needed when reading PDF:s and technical documents with illustrations.

I thought so too. I've had a PRS-505 for quite a while and enjoyed it a lot. Now, two months ago, I got a new (Graphite) Kindle DX - as you say, "for PDFs". But I don't have that many of those, and I do read a lot of fiction - and, to my surprise, found that I prefer the DX screen for that as well! Not for contrast - Sony has plenty for me - but for size. My vision is far from perfect, and on DX I can jack up the font size such that I can read it without eyeglasses at a comfortable distance with no strain, and still have a decent amount of words per page.

I would never read a novel on a backlighed screen like LCD/LED (read: a tablet) though.

I'm eagerly waiting for tablets with those Pixel Qi screens, though. Notion Ink Adam, specifically - it's got a lot going for it in other departments as well. Of course, nothing beats eInk at power efficiency, but if I can have an single all-in-one device that can both serve as a good-for-eyes book reader and as a portable Internet appliance, that would be worth the inconvenience.

Re:Boo Yaaaah! (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471982)

Yeah, I've been eagerly waiting for the Adam also, but I'm no longer sure it can replace an E-ink reader. On the few previews I've seen on Youtube, the backlightless mode of the Pixel Qi screen seem to be low contrast "black on silver" like a first generation Gameboy. Hopefully it looks better IRL.

USA centric Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34464552)

Maybe over there in the great US of A, but not in Europe )-; Does anybody else think that the WHOLE INTERNET is quite US centric?

(Whooo -- first comment!)

Re:USA centric Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34465268)

Does anybody else think that the WHOLE INTERNET is quite US centric?

Well, first of all, you Euros need to understand that we're not interested in un-cut guys. If you want your porn to fly here, you better start getting your schnitzels whacked.

Re:USA centric Slashdot? (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471344)

Hey I have my schnitzel whacked but I am still not able to access the google bookstore!

sigh (4, Informative)

khendron (225184) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464558)

"It looks like you're located outside of the United States. Although you're welcome to read about Google eBooks, please note that Google eBooks are only available for sale to customers in the U.S. at this time."

sigh.

Re:sigh (3, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464830)

"It looks like you're located outside of the United States."

Wow! Clippy, where the heck have you been?

Re:sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34465114)

So much for the World Wide Web

Re:sigh (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465256)

Well, at least their free books are available to all.

But don't worry. The edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales I'm looking at right now was published in 1903, and that's only 107 years ago. I'm sure that'll be removed from Public Domain within too long.

Re:sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34465390)

Life is like a web application. Sometime you need cookies just to get by.

Re:sig:

+ a million. If you have not experienced spontaneous baking cookies after midnight then you have not yet lived.

Re:sigh (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34467726)

That was my experience too (in Australia).

I pretty much expect to see that sort of thing now, so I bounced through a US web proxy so I could check it out - interestingly, I still got the same message. I checked and saw I was still logged into Google/Gmail, so logged out. Still got the same message. Deleted all my google.com cookies - still got the same message.

I gave up at this point, but I thought it was interesting that they really go out of their way to enforce region restrictions!

Re:sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34468998)

Difficulty of international copyright laws and all that rot.

Same thing as with Hulu!

Ah, sometimes I'm glad to be an American.

Looking Forward To Reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34464630)

the Bankgate [wikileaks.ch] papers.

Yours In Electrogorsk,
Kilgore Trout

Some publishers do without DRM (5, Informative)

badger.foo (447981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464686)

- such as No Starch press (http://nostarch.com [nostarch.com] ), and quite possibly others.

I find it's always worth mentioning that there are publishers out there who respect their customers enough to not do the DRM dance, and from the author's view (yes, I am one) the danger of people not reading your stuff is more scary than the danger of not getting paid for every last copy.

Full disclosure: I have a book out on No Starch, The Book of PF, 2nd ed [nostarch.com] .

Re:Some publishers do without DRM (2)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465154)

pragmatic programmer and o'reilly ebooks are plain pdfs.

Re:Some publishers do without DRM (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471550)

So are the PDFs from Packt. Pragmatic Programmers also have DRM-free (but watermarked) ePub and mobi (for the Kindle) versions of almost all of their books. That kicks ass because PDF:s suck on small screens.

Re:Some publishers do without DRM (2)

killfixx (148785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465290)

... and from the author's view (yes, I am one) the danger of people not reading your stuff is more scary than the danger of not getting paid for every last copy.

Thank you for the laugh...

That was an excellent point. :)

Re:Some publishers do without DRM (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465358)

True, some publishers do without DRM. And Google eBooks allows publishers who choose to do without DRM to deliver their ebooks without DRM.

Re:Some publishers do without DRM (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473220)

But it's not clear which books have DRM, nor is it clear which books have been locked by their publishers to be online-only (ie., no downloadable version). None of the books I looked at mentioned either item. I have an "unsupported device": a Nokia n810 with FBreader. I can read unencrypted epubs, but nothing with DRM. Unless I can see which those are they're not getting any business from me.

I'm amazed that people are cool with buying device-locked books. People have pretty much laughed device-locked music out of the marketplace. I don't know why anyone's putting up with it for books. Maybe it's because mass-market ebooks are new enough that people haven't been bitten badly by lack of portability when they get a new device. Or maybe the usage model is different enough for books and music -- I'm likely to want to listen to music again and again, but I typically read a book once. Portability isn't an issue if you plan to dispose of it after one use.

Re:Some publishers do without DRM (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476740)

But it's not clear which books have DRM, nor is it clear which books have been locked by their publishers to be online-only (ie., no downloadable version).

The "no downloadable version" ones are, per the help, identified as such prior to purchase; the distinction between DRM and no DRM, on the other hand, does not seem to be identified anywhere. The latter point is one I'd like to see Google address -- and, in fact, while I think the reader is fairly nice and will use the library function for free books that are available, I won't buy anything from the store until it is -- and I'd like the former to be evident in listings rather than just when you go to buy the book.

I'm amazed that people are cool with buying device-locked books. People have pretty much laughed device-locked music out of the marketplace.

Lots of people are not cool with buying device locked books and, OTOH, lots of people had no problem with buying device-locked music when that model first appeared. It got "laughed out of the marketplace" (to the extent that's accurate) only because of the problems people encountered with it in practice.

Re:Some publishers do without DRM (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468686)

If you're an author then I strongly urge you to read this guy's blog -> http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

It's not a genre I'm into but he's making some pretty good sales numbers with his books and is pretty freely telling people how he's doing it. If I were a publisher I'd be terrified :-)

Re:Some publishers do without DRM (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472452)

- such as No Starch press (http://nostarch.com [nostarch.com] ), and quite possibly others.

Don't forget the biggest of the DRM-free ebook publishing houses: Baen [baen.com] .

They focus on a fairly narrow niche (Sci-fi, especially military sci-fi, with some fantasy), but within their niche they're a dominant dead-tree publisher and in general I think they were the first e-book publisher to really "get it". Everything they sell is available in multiple non-DRM'd formats, their prices are reasonable ($4-$6 for individual books, or they sell $15 bundles containing 5-6 books) and they even offer a Free Library containing complete titles from all of their top authors. They've also pioneered an interesting practice of including a CD with dozens of full novels (mostly NOT from the Free Library) in the back of their hardback editions, and they actually encourage sharing of those CDs and fully support the efforts of someone who has put these CD images online for free download.

Baen has been selling e-books this way for over a decade now (since 1999), and what started has something of an experiment has continued as a very profitable business plan.

Linux users locked out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34464730)

It uses Adobe Digital Editions - "Adobe originally announced a Linux version would be published at the end of 2007 but later changed their mind.[1] All promises of future versions have now been removed from the Adobe's official FAQ."

Netflix, ebooks, there's an ever increasing amount of content that being a Linux user locks you out of.

Soon it might be time to reconsider my commitment to using Linux as my preferred OS :-(

Re:Linux users locked out? (3, Informative)

DrCode (95839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34466244)

They say you can read in a web browser with javascript enabled.

Re:Linux users locked out? (1)

Requia (1734466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469460)

I don't seem to have any problem, at least with the free books (I can read online, and transfer to my PRS).

I'm not sure how well that will work when I buy something with DRM enabled on it. I do plan to try once I figure out something to buy.

Re:Linux users locked out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34512190)

Did you know why they told to read in a web browser with javascript.
if you try without java enabled browser your thread could be shown.

www.diganto24.com

Re:Linux users locked out? (1)

steveg (55825) | more than 3 years ago | (#34467900)

I don't have that problem.

Netflix, ebooks, there is an increasing amount of content providers that can't sell to me.

There's also an increasing amount of content I can find on my own. If they want my money, they'll have to make it possible for me to buy from them. Otherwise they'll have to do without me as a customer.

Re:Linux users locked out? (1)

Requia (1734466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481952)

I am indeed locked out from the DRM books, though I can read them online I cannot transfer them to my digital reader.

Though why a public domain book has DRM on it is beyond me.

so far seem to be identical prices (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464766)

In theory it seems that more competition should be good for prices, but not so far: everything I looked up is priced identically to the Kindle price.

Re:so far seem to be identical prices (3, Informative)

Kypt (977978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465200)

In theory it seems that more competition should be good for prices, but not so far: everything I looked up is priced identically to the Kindle price.

That's because a lot of books are under the "Agency Model" where if you want to sell the books you may not mess with the price at all. You can't do sales on the books, etc. Amazon, B&N, Sony, and now Google are powerless to move prices on these books. Great for competition huh?

Re:so far seem to be identical prices (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465334)

Well if the Sherman Antitrust Act doesn't eventually make the rounds; perhaps some enterprising individual would put up plans for DIY Sherman tanks. Thus empowering authors and readers to really "take the fight"to the publishers ;)

Re:so far seem to be identical prices (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34465362)

Not so much the agency model as the cartel model. :)

Me don't likeey..! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34464778)

Trying desperately to find some new businesses for themselves. In the end it'll just look like a "dollar-store", where you can find anything and everything.

If I know Google (1, Interesting)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464788)

Some Google employee will end up "accidentally" releasing a key that releases every Google book within 4 years. Shockingly enough comprehensive documentation about how to use it on various devices will also surface. This documentation will be of such quality that it had to have taken real work by a professional publishing staff to make it happen.

Re:If I know Google (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465246)

Wheres the google video key? Or did you forget that google video fucked over everyone that bought videos? Maybe they were just teaching them why DRM is bad!

do7l (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34464938)

BSD sux0rs. What and/or distribute those obligations. survival prospects All major surveys about half of the people's faces at series of debates the problems invited back again. Slashdot 'BSD is whether to repeat propaganda and Sudden and will not work. And create, manufacture it just 0wnz.', 486/66 with 8 Rival distribution, non niiger patrons OpenBSD wanker Theo said one FreeBSD gave the BSD Need your help! a relatively was at the same that should be a relatively market. Therefore expulsion of IPF 200 running NT The top. Or were, expulsion of IPF Dying' crowd - that they sideline Users of BSD/OS. A Java IRC client Distro is done Here contributed code rivalry. While How is the GNAA There are Turned over to yet of a solid dose problem; a few and the striking to its laid-back

Relies on Adobe???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34464992)

The ebooks appear to rely on Adobe Digital Editions for DRM

Well, given how much I fucking hate Adobe products, Google has precisely zero chance of making a sale to me.

Fuck you, Adobe. I already spend enough time dealing with your crap.

Re:Relies on Adobe???? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34466970)

I don't care who makes it, once it has DRM you'll be lucky if I grab it for $1 in the bargain bin 5 years from now.

Sharing - spouse or otherwise (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34465124)

"Sharing
You may not lend or co-own any of your Google eBooks purchases with another person."

http://books.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1062968

Re:Sharing - spouse or otherwise (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465666)

No mater what Google says, you can share your spouse with whomever you like, as long as the spouse is into that sort of thing...

Re:Sharing - spouse or otherwise (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34466984)

"Sharing
You may not lend or co-own any of your Google eBooks purchases with another person."

Restricting co-ownership with a spouse is somewhat difficult; if you live in a community property state most property acquired during marriage is, by law and with only the specific exceptions existing in the law of the State, jointly owned. This includes intangible personal property, which seems to be what is at issue here.

Consequently, in many cases it is legally impossible to own Google eBooks purchases without co-owning them with another person.

Conflict of Interest? (0, Troll)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465406)

Maybe I haven't studied this too in depth, but how is this not a conflict of interest over the stated goals of Google Books? You know, the Google project to index books so that they were searchable?

Yeah, it turns out [blogspot.com] they were indexing them to sell eBook versions. I would love it if their Library project [google.com] partners sued them for it.

Re:Conflict of Interest? (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465564)

Maybe I haven't studied this too in depth, but how is this not a conflict of interest over the stated goals of Google Books?

How is it a conflict with the goals of that project?

You know, the Google project to index books so that they were searchable?

Which did, indeed, make them searchable.

Yeah, it turns out they were indexing them to sell eBook versions.

They are only selling eBook versions of the ones that are in-copyright where the publishers allow them to sell the digital copies.

The out-of-copyright ones are not being sold, and the in-copyright ones that aren't sold through Google eBooks (and even the ones that are) provide links to purchase the book at online bookstores.

I would love it if their Library project partners sued them for it.

How have the Library partner projects been harmed by this? Why would they sue?
 

Perfect Timing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34466022)

I was looking for a new book source now that I'm on the boycott Amazon.com bandwagon. Although arguably Google might not be the best choice for those concerned about companies working with government to oppress activists, maybe Amazon will be a little more open to the interests of its non-government customers. Seriously, its not like the information Wikileaks posted wasn't already flying through the tubes when they moved to Amazon's cloud services.

Accessing the Store (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468180)

iOS and Android have a dedicated app for accessing the store

This is not really true; the iOS app is a reader, and it accesses your online bookshelf. For accessing the store (when you select the "Get eBooks" button) you are transferred to Safari.

What I really want is FREEDOM (1)

crf00 (1048098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468538)

When I purchase an ebook the most top criteria that I look for is freedom:

1. Freedom to read it on any device.
2. Freedom to read it using free software.
3. Freedom to archive and read it offline.
4. Freedom to copy/paste and print selected pages.

Now Google eBooks gives me the first freedom to read it on most of the devices, and have some nifty features such as nice Web UI and synchronization through cloud. But it still doesn't meet my criteria 2 and 3. Now I don't mind too much about criteria 4, but there is no point to prohibit printing if digital duplication is allowed.

The freedom of offline access is the most important criteria that I need. The time when I have no Internet access is the time I have the least distraction and the time I need to read the most to pass my time, and I want to read anywhere including on the bus and plane. The ebook must also readable in Linux as I spend most of my time in front of my Linux laptop, and there is no way I want to be forced to read on Windows or other reading devices if I already have a laptop sitting in front of me.

It is kinda sad that even with so many choices, most of the ebooks stores are still encumbered with the stupid DRM stuff. I know it's not Google or Amazon's fault as there is no way the publishers allow them to sell DRM-free ebooks. But until the day DRM-free ebooks are widely available, no thanks I'm not buying eBooks from any of the store. And if I really want to support the author, I would rather purchase physical books, and then download pirated copy of the DRM-free ebooks for the sake of really reading those books anywhere I want.

Re:What I really want is FREEDOM (1)

Requia (1734466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34468990)

I'm fine with the DRM, what I really want is the ability to sell my used books, to buy used books, and to lend my books out. DRM potentially enables that (by preventing copying but allowing transfer), but is instead being used to prevent it.

Nice Try (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471018)

Lets summarize the deficits:

No upload of your own already owned (non copy protected) ebooks into the cloud to use it as storage.
No shop access outside of the USA...

Nice try Google, execution, failed the exam.

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