No More Excuses for Not Reading: eReader and Google eBooks

Image by libraryman via Flickr

I’ve been doing a bit of research on eReaders and devices, since I am an avid reader and writer. It’s common for me to be reading several books at the same time, so I wanted to know if I would read even more (and more efficiently) with the use of an eReader. I have an iPad, which provides an excellent interface for magazines and newspapers, but reading books on that type of device is supposed to be hard on one’s eyes. The eReaders boast a type of technology that very closely mimics a book page, and I must agree it is very similar.

I looked at the Amazon Kindle, but quite frankly I am too accustomed to touch screens (which the Kindle does NOT have). I looked at the Barnes & Noble Nook and really liked the touch screen and color of the Nook Color but felt that for a couple hundred dollars more, the iPad was a much better investment.

However, the regular Nook looked like a very good choice and could easily eliminate the need to crate around a load of books. And, the Nook is the best-selling eReader, with over 2 millions books you can download wirelessly, reads like a paper book, includes extra-long battery life, and allows you to even share your books with friends for 30 days. At $149, I thought this sounded like a pretty good deal, so I purchased one, with the intention of immediately downloading the latest Harry Potter book to read.

Harry Potter

Well, although the Nook has over 2 million books to choose from–guess what–J.K. Rowling does NOT offer any of her Harry Potter books on eReaders! I was amazed and stunned. It never occurred to me that one of the most popular authors does not have her books readily available through all publishing venues. So, even though the technology is available, if you want to read Harry Potter on the go, you’ll be forced to pack one of her 700-page books. I could chastise J.K. Rowling, but I’m sure there is a very good reason for this. But on to the next part of my story: Google eBooks.

Just this morning I read about the new addition to Google books: Google eBooks. There is an excellent video explaining how it works, and quite frankly, I think it looks fantastic.

The ability to access and read books through multiple devices and having them automatically sync is very attractive. You can be reading a book purchased on Google eBooks on your iPad and then pick up where you left off on your Android device or iPhone. You can even download the ePub format to your Nook using Adobe Digital Editions software, which is getting into digital publishing big time (writing about that could involve several blog posts.) And libraries are offering ePub content, where you can get books for free.

What is the difference between Google eBooks and eReaders? Not much, as far as I can see. You are downloading the content just as you are to an eReader. Once you have the content on your iPad, for instance, with the Google Books app, you can access the book you were last reading without an Internet connection. However, you cannot go back to your Google Books library to select another book to read (something you CAN do with an eReader such as a Kindle or Nook). However, you CAN download an ePUB version of the book to your Nook from Google Books, which would allow you to read and access any of your books without an Internet connection.

Google eBooks are only viewable in portrait mode and do not offer a way to comment and share ideas about reading, through a social network. You need to download the App through the Google website (app does not appear in the iTunes store). However, the ability to have yet another device to easily sync among various devices offers many options and advantages. I think we will have to see how this unfolds to truly know the potential Google Books might offer.

Digital books and publications offer a lot of promise. No more excuses about not being able to read, for instance. I still think that students could benefit so much from having their textbooks on eReaders and other portable devices. The books are available, handy, and can be bookmarked and read from where you left off. They are light-weight, portable, and easy to read. So, after I finish reading my 700-page Harry Potter paperback, I’ll be adding some other titles to my Nook and Google eBooks. After all, the holidays are just around the corner.

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