Google Books has launched in the UK making it possible for readers to browse 3 million titles on their phones or tablets from Google’s vast digital repository. You can also search Google ebookstore from your web browser on a PC or Mac.
Promising everything from bestsellers to rare out of print editions, it makes two of the three million titles stocked free, and owners of Android phones, iPad, iPhones, desktop PCs and eReaders can all access the library.
The app’s been available in the US for a while now, and reviews have been good. In particular, the automatic synchronisation service has been praised, enabling you to bookmark a page on one device, then open it up again on the exact page on another – all by signing in using your Google account.
Google has struck deals with publishers including Hachette Filipacchi and Blackwells among several others, and authors including Henning Mankell, Lawrence Block and CWA Dagger winner Tom Franklin – all available at launch.
CFL headed straight for the crime section, and from what we can see prices aren’t nearly as competitive for paid-for eBooks than on the Kindle Store. For example, James Patterson’s Kill Alex Cross is £6.49 in the Google ebookstore, while a Kindle version is currently available for £4.79. Henning Mankell’s The Troubled Man is £1 cheaper on Kindle than through the Google ebookstore, available for £8.99.
Other more recent titles share a closer price point, with Mark Billingham’s Good as Dead retailing at £8.49 on both stores, and SJ Watson’s Before I go to Sleep available for £4.99 on Google and £3.99 on Kindle.
The best news, however, is that more than two million of the store’s books are out of copyright and available for free, including some excellent – if relatively unkown – crime fiction novels that we identified. And while the Kindle has its own .mobi format to contend with, Google’s bookstore offers titles in several formats, including .epub and in some cases PDF.
The Google ebookstore app is available for free from the Android Marketplace, iTunes App Store and via Google for eReaders including Sony’s range and any device supporting Adobe’s eBook platform.