Google Bringing Free ebooks to Mobile Phones

February 9th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Google Book Search

In another move to strengthen its position in the mobile world, Google has recently introduced its new feature, the Google Book Search. It is more than just a search engine for books, mind you. It will actually provide mobile users with e-book versions of many classics and popular novels for free.

Just as Apple made it popular to keep thousands of songs handy and accessible through its innovative iPods, Google will now try to do the same for e-books. Google Book Search will be making about 1.5 million books available for free for Apple iPhone and Android-powered mobile phone users. These titles belong to the public domain and thus are provided for free. People will now be able to read about them through their mobile phones through Google Book Search.

And since most mobile phones have limited displays, the free e-books are being optimized for reading on a small screen. The free e-books are read through the web browser of the iPhones and Android phones. But sad to say, these books can’t be read offline. What this initiative may provide though is making many of the past classics and popular novels even more accessible to mobile users.

This move by Google would certainly provide a certain level of threat to some commercial e-book ventures, notably to Amazon and Sony who have provided their users to a substantial number of popular books through their own proprietary e-book reader devices. Amazon has recently been quite popular with its Kindle e-book reader. But with the device selling for around $300 to $400 in the market, some people may not be to keen on the idea. Others may opt for the free e-books provided by Google Book Search for mobile phones.

But then, what Google may not be offering is what Amazon holds in terms of advantage. A majority of the 1.5 million books available on Google Book Search may be comprised of older titles and classics, some of which are several decades old. Amazon and other commercial e-book providers on the other hand, usually offer the latest book titles and bestsellers among their lists. These are the books that most of today’s readers are looking for online anyway.

What Google Book Search provides is another means to change the environment that the e-book industry is currently into. This initiative might help settle what may still be considered as an issue without a definitive answer- would people want to read e-books on dedicated e-book readers or would they otherwise prefer reading them on devices they currently are using, such as mobile phones? Watch out for the answers in the very near future.