Sunday, December 19, 2010

Google eBooks: Is That All There Is?

Jon Evans, Techcrunch: "Two weeks ago the Google eBookstore finally launched, and the world was briefly amazed. Google Editions, as it was known until launch, was the book world’s Duke Nukem Forever vaporware for seven years, depending on how you count. Its actual emergence was like the birth of a unicorn. A mewling, misshapen, half-baked unicorn. ... A ridiculous amount of ado has been made about the eBookstore’s one innovative feature: they’re allowing independent bookstores to sell Google eBooks through their own web sites. I don’t know what it is about indie bookstores that makes otherwise hard-headed analysts go all misty-eyed and misty-minded, but anyone who thinks this is a game-changer is on crack. 'A middleman’s business is to make himself a necessary evil,' quoth William Gibson, and love ‘em or hate ‘em, bookstores are to ebooks what travel agents are to online travel; unnecessary and irrelevant. Leaving that distraction aside, when you compare Amazon’s ebook ecosystem to Google’s, the latter finds itself in the unfamiliar position of inferior copycat. ... "