Too Bad Google Doesn’t Make a Dedicated E Ink eReader


google-play-books

I’ll admit, I often forget that Google sells ebooks. Sometimes I think Google forgets that too. They never seem to do any advertising or make any attempt whatsoever to gain visibility in the ebook space.

Google’s ebook market share is reportedly only around 2% at best.

That’s just crazy considering the fact that the Google Play Books app comes pre-loaded on just about every single Android tablet and phone sold, and it can’t be uninstalled.

The Play Books app is actually pretty good too, and it even supports uploading your own ePub and PDF books.

Too bad Google doesn’t put more effort into their ebook business.

They could offer a really nice dedicated E Ink ebook reader if they really wanted to, and they have the technology and resources to make it unique enough to gain attention from readers.

Lots of people would love to have a good ePub-supporting alternative to the Kindle. Google could have some interesting features like being able to download nicely-formatted web articles and news clippings and being able to access their library of digitized content.

The Kindle needs more competition and Google is one of a few companies that could put a small dent in Amazon’e ebook empire. Too bad Google isn’t more interested in the ebook reader market. A dedicated Google ereader optimized for web reading could be really cool.

There used to be an ereader called the iriver Story HD. It was the first ebook reader to directly connect to Google’s ebook store, but the software was really basic and the device faded into obscurity really quickly. That was as close as we ever got to a Google ereader.

14 Responses to “Too Bad Google Doesn’t Make a Dedicated E Ink eReader”

  1. Can you imagine, a 13″ reader with stylus that was sold at a reasonable price (less than $500) and came with stock Android right out the box? Talk about a dream come true.. Plus support for auto syncing all your notes etc with your Google account…

  2. Goggle as search engine strikes me as wanting to vacuum up as much user data as possible.Which is why I use Google as little as possible. Any Google e-reader would be programmed to send as much data back to Google and its advertisers as possible. Though I guess that could be handled by keeping Internet turned off.

  3. Were Google interested in this, they would’ve done it by now.

    E-readers aren’t exactly a new concept, nor is Amazon’s hegemony. For whatever reason, Google (and Apple) have chosen not to participate and that’s likely not to change.

  4. Probably Google and Apple have decided to go with their respective apps (Google Books and iBooks) and leave the eBook Reader segment to Amazon primarily and Kobo, Sony secondarily.
    It is a big if, though, Google entering the eBook reader market.

  5. I’ve been waiting for Google eBook Reader (E Ink) for years. It would be a game changer on the market, and Google would probably win this fight with Amazon.

    But… https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=ebook%20reader,e-book%20reader,ereader,kindle

  6. When you think about it Google isn’t a hardware company.

    All of their hardware has basically been built mostly by someone else, examples: LG and HTC.

  7. Every company spends most of their money frying their biggest fish. Apple has the iphone. Google has search. Amazon has ecommerce. ereading is a small fish for the first two companies, so why bother spending time and effort on it?

  8. Its a shame Google is only a player in the boutique electronics market. Look at the Pixel, and its Chromebooks, all $500+ devices. And with Google you never know when a project will be cannibalized or canceled since most of almost every other business than advertising is a hobby. This is why I wont hold my breath for a Google ereader.

  9. If anything, Apple is the one who should develop an eReader. iBooks has a bigger market share than Playbooks and Apple fanboys would buy anything Apple, so why not? Example I love the Pixel phone but nobody is buying it despite it being perhaps the best Android phone, why not? Because it’s not a Galaxy or an iphone, simple. When it comes to hardware, eco-system and software is King! People don’t buy iphone’s because it’s a cutting edge phone, on the contrary they are far behind many years in many features in com,parison to Android but they have the best software, cloud-sync and eco-system which is convenient and have people foaming at the mouth!
    Apple has the eco-system, software and cloud and market share with ibooks to make better competition for Amazon.

    • Agreed! I wrote an article about that a few years ago. Apple must really dislike E Ink or something. They could offer a really nice higher end dedicated ereader and sell gazillions of them. I can’t believe they’re​ willing to make a watch but not an ereader.

      • Precisely so let’s say that even if Google makes a dedicated eReader, I doubt many people would buy it for the simple fact that they are already late to the party just as with the Pixel. It’s as if people have already made up their minds on what they want. Not only that but the ecosystem pales in comparison to Amazons, not to mention price and selection.
        Now I’m not saying they shouldn’t at least try because any competition is good competition but as a whole we are lazy creatures of habit and stick with certain brands which is why I point to Apple for the simple fact that they can sell a turd in a box, market the crap out of it and have the sheep lining up ready to buy.

      • In a way, the other problem with Apple is that they already have a product — that, though, not an e-ink based reader can be used as an e-reader: that product of course, is the iPad. 🙂

        My guess is just that: 1) that the market is too small for them,2) It’s already a fairly mature market (i.e. very hard to innovate), and 3) There is already strong competition form the start, i.e. Amazon.

        Just not worth it for Apple.

  10. Lars Petter Skeie Reply August 8, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    I am using Boox with Android. Using Google Books, Kindle app and whatever I need. Its excellent.

  11. The only commercial attraction for e-readers is to tie them with the producer’s own e-store for ebooks. Only Kindle does this successfully with Amazon, in North America (not in the rest of the world).

    All other producers fail to various degrees in this aspect. They fail to be profitable with their ebook e-store. This leaves them only profit from selling the devices. Unfortunately, e-ink devices for the general public are a very tiny geek market, probably fewer than people who use text-mode webbrowsers in terminal emulators. That’s how hopelessly small this market is for commercial players.

    My suspicion (just guessing without any research whatsoever) is that Google Books is not doing bad in far corners of the world, that is anywhere outside Europe and North America. That’s why the Books app stays afloat. But still there will not be many users for e-ink devices in any foreseeable future anywhere in the world.

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