Google Play to Take on Amazon & iBooks, Lock Users In
Just ahead of another back-to-school season for college and university students in America, Google has announced that it will add text books to its Google Play Store.
Google announced the new content today along with a refreshed Nexus 7 tablet and Android 4.3. The new text-book area of the Google Play Store will complement the new Nexus 7, and make the device a no-brainer for students who already have an Android device. Google has already partnered with most of the largest text-book publishers in the United States. These include Wiley & Sons, Macmillian, McGraw Hill Education and Pearson.
In order to make the Nexus 7 and the Google Play Store even more appealing to students Google’s text-book store will offer up to 80% discounts on some textbooks. Google is also promising a “comprehensive selection of titles” when the text-book store launches in Google Play in early August.
Google didn’t announce whether users will be able to open the text-books they buy from the Google Play Store on other devices like the iPad. Today, Google doesn’t make a Google Play Books application for the iPhone or iPad, so users need to have a device running Android to continue reading their content. Apple also doesn’t make its iBooks application available on other platforms either, making it inconvenient for those who might have devices from other manufacturers.
This stands in stark contrast to Amazon’s Kindle Store and Barnes & Noble’s Nook stores. As both companies have applications on multiple platforms, users can buy their text-books and read them on the device of their choosing. They both offer Mac and PC versions of their app as well. With those, users can make notes and do research without having to carry around two devices at the same time.
It should be noted that users will be able to rent text-books as well.
If Google doesn’t provide their users a way to read text-books on other devices than it would seem that the only advantage users get from buying their text-books from the Google Play Store is for the discounts. As the store hasn’t yet opened, we don’t know how much the average text-book will be discounted.