If, like a favorite novel, a good e-reader is something you want to return to again and again, the current version of Google Books will gather plenty of digital dust sitting on our shelves. Admittedly, first impressions aren’t bad: the app includes three free classics, and with three million titles in Google’s eBookstore, there’s plenty more where those came from. The contents of your Google Books library—including purchases, samples, and your places in them—sync to your Google account, so everything you’re interested in appears on all your devices simultaneously, just a download away. Unfortunately for heavy readers, your library can’t be reorganized by title or author, but at least the most recently read book appears at the top.
It was inevitable that it would come to this, but ultimately we all knew this was the direction Google was headed with their book project. Not simply scanning and indexing various libraries holdings, but moving toward e-readership was always in the cards for the search giant. And with their announcement today, Google moves into direct bookstore competition with Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and more.