The story of eReaders hasn’t always been a happy one. While the platform launched with a lot of zeal and potential, it was quickly eclipsed by the tablets and smartphones which hit the market soon thereafter. On the negative side, this was a lost opportunity for readers. On the positive side, the rush to compete created new technology that now allows eReaders to be purchased for well under $200.00. One new eReader, called the Story HD, is $139.99, despite sporting a hefty bit of technology: integration with the open Google eBooks platform.
This open platform allows users to access the Google eBookstore via wireless as soon as the device is turned on. The Google eBookstore currently houses approximately three million free books, including a huge number of classic works, and hundreds of thousands of for-purchase books. While there are 80 other compatible eReaders that can access Google eBooks, those require the user to transfer the book from their PC or Mac to the eReader itself.
Google is pushing the launch of the device forward, having spotlighted the Story HD on multiple Google outlets. They give a strong sales pitch, too, calling the Story HD a device that’s “slim and lightweight with a high-resolution e-ink screen and a QWERTY keyboard for easy searching.” Further, while compatible with the Google eBookstore, the Story HD still allows users to “store your personal ebooks library in the cloud – picking up where you left off in any ebook you’re reading as you move from laptop to smartphone to e-reader to tablet.”
The Story HD will be available for purchase at U.S. Target stores starting on July 17th. If it succeeds, it’s highly likely that future eReaders will take advantage of Google’s open APIs for Google eBookstore integration.