Change of Policy at Google Books! Yay!

Google Books was another free service from Google for people to access libraries, conduct online libraries for academic purposes, and also buy and store their own catalog of electronic books.  Potential users complained when they couldn’t use the service as a sort of online calibre or adobe editions service.  You couldn’t add your own epubs and pdfs to your own library, for fear of violating B&N’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle, only not tied to any device.  I liked the idea of Google books, but hardly used it, as I couldn’t archive my own epubs on the service, so what was the point?

Something new on the horizon...
Something new on the horizon…

All of that is changed.  The recent update of Google Books announced that they are removing some restrictions on uploading privately owned content to ones’ Google Book library.  So now a person can upload their own commercial Epub files and PDFs to Google Book libraries.   There’s still some places where it falls short.. no MOBI files, no Kindle content, no PDFs over a certain size (I believe 25 megs).  Still, it’s a big step forward, and I’ll tell you why.

  1. Virtually ANY device or reader that can read a browser or run an Android app or IoS app can become your reader.  The files are cloud-stored, and downloaded when you need them.   (I say “virtually any” as I don’t know about the Windows Tablet operating system yet)
  2. You don’t have to store as many files as I do locally, and that’s a big plus.  I can replicate my gigantic Ireader library in Google Books, and download what I want, when I want it (presuming an internet connection), then archive it back when I’m done.  Much more easy-peasy than Ibooks.
  3. The new version of Google Books is reasonably flexible, allowing expanded research into topics and storage in custom bookshelf style groups of files.

Epubs are the easiest to store so far, I’ve found, but it would help if there was a way (to borrow a good feature from Calibre) to look up meta information from book databases on individual titles.  I like to be able to see my covers, and they often don’t make it on epubs.

Screenshot of Google Books
Screenshot of Google Books.  As you can see, it’s not perfect, but it is serviceable.
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