read.jpgBrian Croxall of The Chronicle of Higher Education has taken the Google ebookstore for a spin. Here a snippet of what he has found:

… On the whole, I was pretty impressed with the claims that Google is making about accessibility. If I purchased a book on one device, it showed up within seconds as something that I could access on all of the others. The page synchronization worked quickly also, although I discovered that syncing appears to happen either on a periodic basis or when one closes a particular book. In other words, you can’t move directly from your iPod to your iPad until you’ve given the server time to catch up. That won’t often be a problem, but it is something to remember if you are reading a book when you don’t have wi-fi access. …

Where Google Books first falls short is in its inability to mark-up a text. In fact, there is no way to add comments, highlights, or even bookmarks to your books at the moment. Both Kindle and iBooks allow you to do this with relative ease, and my go-to file reader on my iPad (Good Reader, which Ethan highlighted as one of the 5 iPad applications he can’t live without) handles with aplomb. While this absence might inconvenience an ordinary reader, it is a deal breaker for me (and I’m guessing for many ProfHacker readers). And speaking of PDFs, the Google Books app doesn’t play nice with them. At the moment you can only read texts that you get from Google’s eBookstore or any of the independent booksellers that are partnering with Google. For an academic, not being able to work with PDFs is—again—a deal breaker.

Much more info in the article. Thanks to Michael von Glahn for the link.


  1. One thing you might want to think about is the impact of the new Chrome OS and Cr-48 on the ebook market.

    I do understand the potential criticisms of using a ‘netbook’ as an ebook reader. I even find my iPad too big, and prefer my Kindle for casual reading. However, I do use the iPad for professional (pdf) work. In the context of this article I wonder about Chrome and Google books for text books. The keypad would let students take notes right along side of student text books. Of course, a perfect scenario would include the addition of a touch screen. This way students would get all three. The ability to read, type notes, and markup text.

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