Google and Reading Books Offline

December 26, 2011

I recall writing a short analysis of the methods Google used to prevent a person from reading an entire book on one of the Google services. There were both patent documents and technical papers. The methods were interesting and seemed to be difficult to work around. We learned that with a little coordination and a number of different “helpers”, it was possible to get most pages in a book, but even that method was far from fool proof.

Imagine my surprise when I read “Google Books for Chrome Gets Offline Support, One Less Excuse for Not Reading the ‘Classics‘”. According to the write up:

the Google Books app for Chrome now caches your titles for local reading. To download a book, just hover over the cover in library view and select “make available offline” from the pop-up. Then, even when you can’t get your Chromebook connected, you’ll be able to sit back and relax with a classic novel or seedy romance tale.

With libraries facing push back from publishers for lending eBooks, I found the Google service interesting. Will the addled goose read classics on his Chromebook? Nope, the goose is not a Chromebook user. Our question, “What’s next?” Might the Google allow reading public domain books on any device running Chrome? Might the Google “rent” a title because the methods for knowing who has what exists? Is Google now following Amazon? Worth watching as Google moves to redefine itself for 2012.

Stephen E Arnold, December 26, 2011

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