The Kindle for Web demo took place today while I was writing this blog entry. Here's the upshot, from Amazon, via Bradenton.com. The new app was "demonstrated on-stage at a Google Chrome event today and will support Chrome OS devices, including the new Chrome OS Notebook, as well as the Chrome browser and other web browsers."
' “Kindle for the Web makes it possible for bookstores, authors, retailers, bloggers or other website owners to offer Kindle books on their websites and earn affiliate fees for doing so,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Kindle Content.
“Anyone with access to a web browser can discover the seamless and consistent experience that comes with Kindle books. Kindle books can be read on the $139 third-generation Kindle device with new high-contrast Pearl e-Ink, on iPads, iPod touches, iPhones, Macs, PCs, BlackBerrys and Android-based devices. And now, anywhere you have a web browser. Your reading library, last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights are always available to you no matter where you bought your Kindle books or how you choose to read them.” '
NEWS STORIES: GOOGLE EBOOKS (See Update of Dec 8.)
Earlier today, the title at the Google eBooks site was "Google eBooks" but it now says "Google eBookstore" which probably differentiates it from the older Google Books site we've been using but which didn't have books for purchase from Google itself.
Kindle for Web, demo'd today for more than book samples finally, will provide web access to all purchased Kindle books also, functioning in a similar way to the Kindle for PC and Kindle for Macs apps (free), which have for some time made purchased books readable on any PC or Mac and have required no Kindle device).
Now the Kindle books will also be readable on any web browser. Does that sound familiar?
NOTE: The FREE Google eBooks are readable on the Kindle.
See the blog article on converting free Google books to Kindle format, free, and easily done yourself or via the RetroRead website, which does it for you at no cost -- that's all explained in the article. For a long time, free Google books can be read on the Kindle directly via these two methods, the latter one requiring only a download of the converted file after making a form request for a free Google book.
The Internet Archive's Books in Browsers Conference (BIB10) that I was able to attend recently was a very timely one, with the sudden access to our purchased (and free) books online via a web browser at any time, whether via Google or Amazon.
I've read today that the Nook, Sony and Kobo owners can use the Google app to read the Google eBooks online via web browser AND can also download the books to the devices themselves (for easier navigation of the book pages), by downloading them via Adobe Digital Editions software and then transferring them to their devices via USB.
I'm not sure Zacks is aware of this, as they mention a couple of times in this article that the Kindle allows device usage while the Google is done through online web access.
They also say that:
"While Google’s ebook store is available from practically any device with a browser, including ebook readers, such as Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Sony Corp’s Reader and Apple Inc’s iPads, it will not be accessible from Amazon.com’s Kindle."
That's not true, actually, as I used my Kindle to purchase a Google eBook today and then went to my Google eBooks area and used the Kindle's web browser to read it. It certainly IS accessible from the Kindle.
With the free 3G experimental web-browsing feature of the Kindle (on Kindles for 3 years so far), you can 'read' your Google eBook residing in the cyber-cloud from almost anywhere you are, including on a bus or at the beach.
However, it's very awkward and cumbersome to access a Google eBook that way, although once you're IN the Google book (online) and have set your font size, line spacings, justification style, foreground/background etc., and can bear clicking on the symbol used to do a Next Page instead, it is fairly useful for Kindle owners who want to read a book that's not available at Amazon.
There is no other reason to go through that though.
But, again, once set up it's not bad; however, those needing much larger fonts can't increase the fonts large enough this way without narrowing the column of text to uselessness, as google reserves space for its various Options on the left.
While the Google eBook app for ePub E-Ink readers provides the access to the web reading of a G-book, I don't know yet how it handles the 'next page' mechanism (which, on the browser version, is similar to how the Kindle apps for PC and Mac handle that), as it's awkward on an e-ink screen using cursor access.
Navigation should be much better on an LCD e-reader when reading through the web. But the Adobe-rights-protected ePub files can be read in the normal way on these e-readers when downloaded for reading on the device.
Google has scanned 15 million books and are making a few hundred thousand of them available for purchase when the rights-holders agree. (I did some screen shots and might put them up later.)
'...Kindle allows highlighting and marking, making studying online easier and this feature is not yet available for Google books. '
GigaOm's James Kendrick points out that this first launch of Google eBooks
. has no Bookmark feature
It also has no dictionary of course, but Wordweb can help with that, for Windows users.
It of course does record the last page you read and places you there when you next access the GBook.
******* Begin Update *******
UPDATE Commenter Tom Semple (follow the link to his thorough explorations of the Kindle and Google eBooks) said that there IS a Search feature and of course there is, though it had looked like a 'zoom' feature to me and I had not tried it out but just quoted GigaOm.
He also mentioned that 'n' and 'p' (as well as 'j' and 'k') allow you to use the keyboard to go to the 'Next' and 'Previous' pages, which is TONS easier than moving the cursor into the areas of the ">" and "<" page-turn symbols. When selecting your Google eBook, be sure (on the Kindle) to cursor to the right to find the "Read now" button, which once you click on it gets you into your eBook. It's good to know that if we can't find a book on Amazon, we may be able to find it on Google eBooks area and read it there. I have TWO shortcuts to get to Google eBooks for use on the Kindle. Remember that on the Kindle, you shouldn't use the "http://" portion as the Kindle does it for us.
Yesterday, I'd used 'http://bit.ly/g-books' but the hyphen is placed in a very hard-to-reach area of the Kindle's "Sym" key so I made a 2nd shortcut today, which is "bit.ly/gbookstore" which has more characters than the first shortcut but doesn't require finding the dash on the Kindle keyboard. And it has 6 less characters to type than "books.google.com/ebooks" and is easy to remember, if you're used to the "bit.ly" shortcut site.
BOOKMARK the google books page once you get there.
HOWEVER, the quickest way to get to a website is to:
type the URL (w/o 'http://') on the HOME screen and then right-arrow to the "go to" to get to the website without having to go to the experimental features menu.
******* End Update *******
Bookseller.com has a "What the Media Said" feature that's very helpful here. They mention that some were less impressed:
. Washington Post
' "The company held up support for copy-and-paste and printing, for example, after too many publishers balked. Highlighting and annotation features won't happen until later. The same goes for text-to-speech capabilities that would allow Google's reader programs to read a book aloud."
After trialling the service, it added, "I can only think this store could use another run through the typewriter." '
. The New Yorker blog
The New Yorker's Macy Halford in a mostly-positive article, and a distaste for enriching Amazon (he says), writes "faulty cataloging system that Google has used for Google Books since the beginning is exacerbated here".
. Publishers Marketplace
Publishers Marketplace repeats that the large publishers using the agency plan elsewhere get to use it here too and adds some info that other reports said was not available yet, but there seems to be an error there: For publishers already selling via the agency model,
[Publishers already selling on the agency model] ' indicate they receive the same 70% of their consumer price as they get from all other retail partners. Google takes 10% and Google's retail partners receive 20% (assuming one is involved in the sale).That probably should have been that Google takes 10% while the publisher gets 63% and the retailer gets 27%.
Under wholesale terms Google takes 10% of the RRP ['Recommended Retail Price'], while the publisher and retailer split the sale price 63%/37%. '
5 reasons why independent bookstores shouldn't count too much on Google Editions
There are some very good points made in this article.
Jeffrey Van Camp writing for Digital Trends points out that Amazon will demo new features for the Kindle that will “enable users to read full books in the browser and [enable] any Website to become a bookstore offering Kindle books.”
Computerworld's Matt Hamblen reported the email from Amazon that they'd be demo'g the new Web app today.
Illustrating the confusion today around how Google eBooks works
I originally wrote, while taking notes for this round-up:
"What's odd is that Computerworld keeps referring to Kindle for Web as a "device" rather than a Kindle app and opines that
"...it was clear the device isn't ready for sale" -- adding that "It could get an official launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, said Allen Weiner, an analyst at research firm Gartner. The Kindle for the Web concept first surfaced about a month ago and seemed like a "natural evolution" of Amazon's e-book strategy, he said.
Weiner said he expects Kindle for the Web to still run on a proprietary Amazon operating system, something that he said Amazon needs to change to be fully competitive with Google's new e-book system."
Computerworld corrected the earlier report and added this later today:
"Editor's note: This story was corrected from an earlier version which incorrectly called Kindle for the Web a device from Amazon. In a beta announced by Amazon in September, Kindle for the Web is actually an application for browsing the Web to read first chapters of Kindle books. This story adds a new fourth paragraph with some adjustments to the third paragraph."
The rest of the story had very interesting points though:
' James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester, discussed Amazon's ability to let independent booksellers sell books through Kindle for the Web as Google is doing (places like Powell's Books and Alibris).
"In the long run, Google eBooks may just convert more people to e-reading who may then go on to buy a Kindle," McQuivey added.
Google has talked about supporting the PDF and ePub formats for making its approach more open than Amazon's, although McQuivey dismissed those formats as not all that important.[Blog comment: Writers keep describing Google's purchasable books as "open format" when what they mean is that Google and other companies challenging Amazon for market share are using the Adobe digital rights-management (DRM) system which is then the "standard" used while Amazon is using its"EPub doesn't mean anything to most buyers, especially when reading on the Kindle platform feels a lot like reading on the cloud," McQuivey said.
openown DRM rather than paying Adobe to use theirs. While ePub is meant to be an open format, it's not 'open' when DRM is wrapped around it for rights-protection.]
Weiner said. "If Amazon is serious about the device space, they are
going to have to open up devices ... whether that is based on
Windows or Android or something else."
...Google has to "prove to be a worthy competitor to Amazon, which has years with a global footprint, really strong apps on every device and a great brand."
"Amazon also has the ability to allow a quick online checkout, which comes from years of experience selling books and other goods online, and is a tool that Google lacks, Weiner said. "Amazon also has a return policy that's amazing with great customer service," he added. '
Popsop.com Brand Magazine Online
Popsop.com points out that "This is the largest collection of all types of books of different genres and by different authors of all epochs. Most of them are available for sale in Google eBookstore—but only for U.S. citizens so far."
A GOOGLE EFFECT ON THE FIRST DAY
And now we come to why that odd image is at the top left. But I did that before writing too much from the interesting reports I was seeing.
Los Angeles Times blogs reported on a curious effect of the Google launch today.
A book by a debut novelist ("The Pericles Commission: A Mystery of Ancient Greece" by Gary Corby) came out of nowhere to land up #16 on Google's new bestseller list.
At Amazon, in a sub-sub category it's visible but barely. He has all 5-star reviews, although the only-5 customer reviews so far isn't a reliable gauge. One person with a 'Amazon Verified Purchase' titled her customer review: "A Riveting Romp Through Ancient Greece" and there are other colorful review titles.
His Twitter following of 1600~ might have helped. The Google eBookstore ranking stayed the same throughout the day, while Amazon's changes hourly. I just like stories like this.
Kindle 3's (UK: Kindle 3's), DX Graphite
Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.
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