Good news for ebook readers in the UK, Google announced yesterday that they’ve expanded their ebook store to the United Kingdom, making available several hundred thousand ebooks from major UK publishers like Random House, Hachette, and Penguin, not to mention Google’s two million free public domain ebooks.
Google uses EPUB and PDF for their ebooks, and Adobe DRM, so they are compatible with the vast majority of dedicated ebook readers, including the Sony Readers, Kobo ereaders, Cybook, iRiver Story, and others. Google has apps for the iPad and iPhone, and Android tablets and smartphones too.
Google eBooks get stored in the cloud so they are accessible at anytime for online reading, and you can choose to download the ebooks for offline viewing too.
Google sells ebooks from their own website, but they also partner with other bookstores to offer Google eBooks through them. Here’s a quote from the announcement that explains more:
We’ve partnered with independent booksellers, so you will soon be able to buy Google eBooks through your favorite bookstore. Booksellers like Gardners’ Hive, as well as others to come, will be selling Google eBooks in the UK. We’re also working with local retailers like Blackwell’s as affiliate partners.
Google first launched their ebookstore in December 2010 in the US. Since then, it’s been flying under the radar. They really haven’t done very much to advertise or promote it. Google only managed to get their ebookstore onto one ebook reader device this past year, the iriver Story HD, a device that isn’t very popular because of its minimal feature-set. The UK market might end up being more advantageous for Google than the highly-competitive US market. Time will tell.