Google Play Book Store

Thu 26 February 2015

I finished reading Dune a few weeks ago which, for those not in the know, is a famous Sci-Fi novel by Frank Herbert published in 1965. It's considered a modern Sci-Fi classic but it's been laying on my reading list for the past 10+ years, until I discovered the Books section on Google Store.

I'm no newcomer to ebooks and have been using FBReader to read free EPUBs downloaded from the net on my PC and Android phones for several years. But the Google Play Book Store completely escaped my notice until recently. When I discovered it, I decided to give it a trial run by purchasing Alex Ferguson's biography which was on sale for £4.30, a quite reasonable price. The purchase process is simple enough, with several payment methods. I chose to pay via my Mobile Network Operator (EE) as it seemed the easiest at the time. I was asked to enter my password and confirm after which the ebook opened automatically. I was impressed. No hoops or complications to jump through at all. Google really has worked on making this as simple as possible and deserves credit. As someone who deals with broken, half-working software systems on a routine basis this was a breath of fresh air.

The ebook itself was of professional quality (no annoying OCR errors) and the Google ebook reader was top-notch too, making the reading experience a pleasant and effortless one. The only feature that I felt was missing was an invert colour option for the late night reading session.*

After devouring Fergie's biography (which I'll probably leave for another post) I decided to explore the Google Play Books library. It is decidedly massive containing pretty much everything on my reading list. I found Dune and decided to make the purchase immediately. To me, the prospect of being able to hop on to any book on my long neglected, creaking reading list is quite exciting.

I'm sure most of us have those certain books that we never got around to reading. Well, now you can, almost anywhere you want. As long as you have an Android phone, which is most phones these days, with a data connection. You don't need a specialist device like a Kindle or even a tablet. Ebooks have long been heralded as a revolutionary medium for literature but I think it may be Google who become the dominant force here by making them truly available and accessible. And this is from someone who has grown increasingly sceptical of the company over their recent antics.

As for Dune, it was everything I expected it to be. Epic and engrossing. Can't wait to dive into the rest of the series. I also now know where George Lucas got his “inspiration” for Star Wars!

* Actually, I just discovered this feature last night along with other display options. It seems I completely missed it. So I have no complaints with the Play Books Reader.