While reviewing the iriver Story HD and getting a closer look at how the Google ebookstore works, I think that Google should add the option to let users upload their own ebook library into Google eBooks, similar to Ibis Reader where you can upload DRM-free ePub ebooks to your library.
Google first launched their ebookstore back in December with the approach of being a “cloud-based” ebookstore. The problem with that is virtually all ebookstores use the cloud to some extent, so really the Google ebookstore isn’t unique in that regard at all.
You are pretty much getting the same exact thing when you buy an ebook from Amazon, B&N, or Kobo. They all store your ebooks in the cloud so that you can access them anytime using applications for Android, Blackberry, PC and Mac computers, and other platforms too. When you delete a purchased ebook from a device, it is still always available to download again because it gets saved to your account and thus “the cloud”.
The only difference with Google eBooks is that they are accessible from any device with a web browser, technically you can even read Google eBooks on a Kindle. But if you think about it, most devices that have a web browser have options for installing ereading applications anyway. And reading from a web browser is not a pleasant experience. You must have an internet connection to read the ebooks instead of downloading them to an app to read offline, and reading from a web browser never offers as good of a reading experience as an actual dedicated reading application.
So when you think about it, Google hardly offers anything you can’t get from all the other major ebookstores. They need to make a change to separate themselves from the pack. Giving users the option to upload ebooks obtained from other sources into their Google eBooks account would suddenly make Google’s ebook platform a lot more appealing. Even if they limited it to DRM-free ePubs, that would be something that no other major ebook platform offers, and would help to get people to transition their ebooks to Google. Once that happens, people would be much more likely to use Google eBooks over the competition. Right now there’s just no incentive to use Google over Kobo, B&N, or Amazon, all of which have more polished, feature-rich apps than Google, and easier to navigate ebook libraries.
If Google is serious about ebooks, they need add uploading as an option. I want my entire ebook library saved in Google’s cloud, not just the ebooks I get from Google.