Google may be reinventing their Google Book Search offering to be more relevant and practical than reading scanned copies of book pages on the PC.
Dominic Rushe of The Sunday Times reports that Google is working with major publishers to bring chapters, pages and volumes off of the bookshelf and onto the mobile device.
The end result would be downloadable e-books which Google users would store on their Blackberries, PDA’s and smartphones (or mobile e-book reading devices) along with the traditional PC’s and laptops which would either be free & advertiser supported, or available via ‘on-demand’ micropayments (… Google Checkout perhaps…) .
Jens Redmer, director of Google Book Search in Europe, said: “We are working on a platform that will let publishers give readers full access to a book online.”
He did not believe taking books online would mean the end of the printed word but it would give readers more options when it came to buying. “You may just want to rent a travel guide for the holiday or buy a chapter of a book. Ultimately, it will be the readers who decide how books are read,” he said.
He added that after many years of setbacks the electronic book looked poised to go main-stream. Commuters in Japan were already reading entire novels on their mobile phones.
Will the new Google Book Search become the end all of printed material or the iPod of the book world? Possibly, but I’d gear this offering for high commuter areas with sturdy public transportation systems such as London, New York, Washington, DC or Portland, OR.