Google to Open eBook Store

Look out Amazon: Google just announced plans to open an electronic book store. Unlike Amazon’s strategy with the Kindle dedicated eReader device, Google plans to deliver eBooks to any device with a web browser.

The service, dubbed Google Editions, is slated to launch in the first half of 2010. At launch it will feature about 500,000 eBooks from publishers Google is already working with on Google Book Search. Purchases can be made directly from Google or through partner sites like Barnes & Noble.

Interestingly, Reuters names as a potential retailer for Google’s electronic books. Considering Amazon would surely prefer to sell its own titles for use on the Kindle, and also considering Barnes & Noble plans to launch its own eReader device as well, these 3 partners seem interesting bedfellows. (Continue)

(Via Mashable)


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Free Crossway Book for Kindle


Each month, in partnership with, we make one Crossway book available for free for the Kindle e-book reader.

For September, we’ve selected Shopping for Time. Here’s a description:

Overwhelmed. Miserable. Exhausted. These are often the words women use to describe their high-demand lifestyles. How are women who are always on the go expected to cope with the demands of work, family, and ministry? Carolyn Mahaney and her three daughters, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, and Janelle Bradshaw, draw biblical principles from God’s Word to give women practical advice on how to fulfill and excel in their daily responsibilities.

Check out what Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Noël Piper, and Mary K. Mohler had to say about Shopping for Time: How to Do it All and Not Be Overwhelmed. And if you use a Kindle, we invite you to download it today.

(Via Crossway Blog)

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Download a Million Volumes from Google Books

Google just announced that it will now allow users to download over 1 million public domain books in the EPUB format. Google had already made this archive available to some of its partners, including Sony and Barnes and Noble, but until today users weren’t able to download these free EPUB texts from Google directly. Google will continue to make PDF versions of these books available for download as well, but users with eReader’s will find the new EPUB files far more useful.

If you don’t have an actual hardware eReader but still want to read these EPUB versions, you can install Stanza or a similar desktop reader to read these books.

EPUB is a free, standardized format that almost every hardware eReader or desktop software understands. Amazon’s Kindle, however, cannot read EPUB texts without using some intermediary software that converts these books into a format the Kindle can understand. While there are a few competing formats, EPUB has turned into the de facto standard for eBooks. Some vendors, like Sony, wrap a digital rights management (DRM) solution around these books, but others just publish completely open, non-DRMed versions of their books. The EPUB files from Google Books will not be locked down by a DRM solution. (Continue)

(Via ReadWriteWeb)


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Finding Free Books for Your Amazon Kindle

I was surprised to learn today that many free books, such as those found on Project Gutenberg, can be read on the Amazon Kindle.  Open Culture gives a nice step-by-step list of instructions for transferring these e-book files to your Kindle.

Step 1:

Go to and search for a book you would like to read.


Step 2:

Once you’ve found a book that you want to download, download it in MOBI format if possible. If no MOBI format exists, then using plain text works as well.


Step 3:

After your download is complete, plug in your Kindle to your computer’s USB port. The Kindle will show up as a USB Drive.



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Sony Releases New e-Readers

The e-reader wars are heating up with this new release from Sony, as reported by GalleyCat.

Sony has unveiled two new e-readers, poised to compete with Amazon Kindle and more affordable digital book readers like the Cool-ER device.

In the NY Times, the company introduced a $199 Reader Pocket Edition and a $299 Reader Touch editions of the Sony reader. The Pocket Edition (pictured, via) can hold up to 350 standard digital books. Many of the new and bestselling digital books on the device will now be sold for $9.99–matching one of the most controversial price points in publishing.

Here’s more from Sony’s Digital Reading Business Division president, Steve Haber, quoted in the article: “We are focusing on affordability … We have to offer value. It’s clear e-books should be less expensive than regular books, with the savings on printing and logistics getting passed on to the consumer.”


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Barnes & Noble’s New e-Book Store

Image representing Barnes & Noble as depicted ...
Image via CrunchBase

Competition is always good for the consumer!  Publishers Weekly reports,

Barnes & Noble made its long awaited entrance into the e-book market with an announcement late Monday afternoon of the launch of the Barnes & Noble eBookstore ( In direct contrast to the closed Kindle system from Amazon, B&N’s e-bookstore will carry e-books that can be read on a wide variety of platforms. B&N will offer 700,000 titles at launch, with “many”  new releases and bestsellers priced at $9.99, according to William Lynch, president of The total includes 500,000 public domain titles from Google which can be downloaded for free. B&N added that it expects to have more than 1 million titles available within the next year, “inclusive of every available eBook from every book publisher and every available eBook original.”

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Publish and Sell Your Book at Scribd

Image representing Scribd as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Open Culture gives a nice summary of the new store feature at

The ground underneath traditional publishing has shifted once again. Scribd, the “YouTube of documents,” has opened up a new store where authors can upload and sell their books. And here’s the clincher. You don’t need a costly gadget (like the Kindle) to read these digital books. Any computer with an internet connection will do. And apparently, you can use smart phones as well.

As noted in the LA Times, Kemble Scott, a bestselling author from San Francisco, has published his second book — The Sower — on Scribd, and it goes for $2 per copy. Of that, Scott will get to keep $1.60, which beats the cut he received for his first traditionally-published book. You can watch a video introducing the new digital book marketplace above. You can also read more about it in The New York Times.

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Will You Trade Your Textbooks for a Kindle?

I mentioned the new Kindle DX yesterday and how some publishers and several universities are collaborating to use it as a platform for e-textbooks.  I can see some advantages (less to carry, cheaper books, ease of purchasing books online), but ReadWriteWeb raises some good questions.

In some ways, wouldn’t it be more advantageous for students if Amazon and its partners released a Kindle for the Desktop similar to the Kindle for an iPhone app? Some of the current eTextbook offerings, like CourseSmart, already give students the option to download eTextbooks for a considerable discount. But at least on CourseSmart, these texts are only available as 180 day subscriptions. For most students, though, that is probably not too much of an issue.

Reading textbooks is a very different activity from reading a regular book. Students, hopefully, don’t just read the text, but actively take notes, highlight sections, and annotate their texts. While the Kindle offers some of these functions, the absence of a touchscreen makes for a rather clunky experience.

In addition, students who use notetaking software would probably also want to be able to copy-and-paste text and images from their eBooks to their favorite software (Microsoft has been pushing its OneNote application heavily on college campuses, for example). Kindle eBooks also won’t allow users to print any part of the text.

With a dedicated hardware device like the Kindle, students lose all of these abilities and gain relatively little compared to using the laptops they already own. Of course, the Kindle is a great eBook reader, and its screen makes reading a lot easier. But for the purpose of studying, it will remain to be seen if Amazon can find ways around some of the disadvantages a dedicated eBook reader would have over a good desktop application that students could use on their laptops.

Are you ready to trade your textbooks in for a Kindle?

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Free Crossway Book for Kindle and iPhone

From the Crossway Blog:

Colin Creel’s Crossroads: Navigate Your Calling and Career is now available for free on Amazon’s Kindle [and iPhone with the Kindle app] for the month of May. Those looking forward to graduation or seeking wisdom and direction in their career choices will want to check out this resource.


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e-Paper and e-Ink
Image by Terretta via Flickr

Publishers Weekly reports that

Lexcycle, the company behind the Stanza e-book reader for the iPhone and iPod touch, is having a busy week. Between March 8 and 14, Lexcycle is sponsoring Read-an-e-Book Week. During this week, selected titles by co-sponsoring publishers and authors—including Random House, All Romance Books and Cory Doctorow—are available for free downloading through the iPhone-accessible Stanza online store. O’Reilly is also offering 40% off all of its titles purchased through Stanza. Other sponsors of the week-long promotion include Sony and E-Ink.

Look here for links to sponsors who are giving away free and/or deeply discounted e-books.

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