Google Play and Ebooks?

After finding out a few days ago that some independent bookstores were using QR codes and Google Books to sell ebooks, Google Books has been on my radar.

I have one ebook up for sale through Google Books, because it was such a pain in the butt to get it up there that I stopped there.  I feel leery of using it, because no matter how brilliant the setup may be, it’s just awkward trying to find out what I’m supposed to be doing.  My first books uploading on Smashwords, B&N, and Amazon were nerve-wracking…but not terribly involved.  Putting the ebook together was the learning curve, not the uploading.  Not so with Google Books.

And now Google Books has scootched over to Google Play:

Now, the company has announced, eh, it’s […] folding the ebookstore intoGoogle Play, a portal that will also sell movies, music, and Android apps, andmaybe audiobooks. As Laura Hazard Owen puts it in a report on PaidContent, “The message is clear: Books are just one type of content that Google sells, and the company wants to offer them as part of an iTunes-like ecosystem rather than as a separate storefront.”

Wiredreport says it’s not only about being like iTunes, but being like Apple AND Amazon, and even Microsoft (remember them) in that Google Play is — God, are you sick of this word yet? — cloud-based. (We wrote about the cloud war in a MobyLives report yesterday.)

All of which could mean, oddly enough, and despite the stupid name for the program, that Google is finally, genuinely serious about selling ebooks, if only because the move seems to mark the company’s realization that, well, it has to if it’s going to compete with Apple and — especially — Amazon.

Read the rest of the article at Melville House.

I checked out the Google Play site, and I’m not impressed.  These books, they aren’t discoverable past the ones that everyone has already discovered.  Okay, sure, maybe it’ll help bookstores stay away from Amazon and still be able to sell ebooks, but…if you dive down into the genres, all you get is a page of staff recommendations.  Not bestseller lists, not up-and-coming lists, not the weird and wacky, just a collection of evergreen classics that everyone knows about already.  You can’t even filter your searches by genre.

Maybe they’re just getting set up, but really?  Anybody can find a book they already know exists; they just google it.  The separate website doesn’t feel like it’s for ease of consumer use at all.

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