I noticed a while back that local indie bookseller Porter Square Books sold ebooks on their website. When I tried to buy one, I ended up with a format not readable on my Android phone, but the Porter Square crew did something I did not expect and promptly refunded me in full. Win, except that I haven’t bought any ebooks from them since.
Now, some time later, I’ve learned that Porter Square Books now “carries” Google ebooks, which means you can buy a Google ebook on Porter Square Books’ website (not yet in their store unless you bring your own computer) and have that book appear magically in your Google books application on your phone, computer, tablet, whatever. And just now I have done just that. Big win, and I was rewarded with the 10-point thank you memo at right.
I’m not really sure I (5) nurtured any community since I did it at home and alone, or (6) conserved any tax dollars since I didn’t pay any sales tax so MA missed out there, or (8) used much of PSB expertise, but I am otherwise quite glad I did it.
For those keeping track, I picked up David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green, which is listed in PSB/Google’s catalog as “Blackswangreen” in case you want to read along with my book club. I paid $12 for the ebook, compared to $15 for the trade paperback at PSB. The paperback was $10.20 on Amazon so I guess localism has its price.
How does Google’s ebook reader software, Books, stack up on Android against Kindle and Nook? The big difference in Google’s favor I see is the “original pages” function which can switch you from simple text to a scan of the original book and back. Pretty cool with older and illustrated books but of questionable use with the latest Tom Clancy. What Google Books lacks – and it seems really odd to me that Google would leave this out – is search. At least on the Android app, you cannot (at least I cannot) search for text inside a book. I figured that would be a slam-dunk for the Googles, but I’m sure it’ll be in an update soon enough.
So I urge you to support your local booksellers and your not-that-local ostentatiously-not-evil giant corporations next time you feel ebook fever coming on.