Google rolled out the Books section of its web-based version of the Android Market, now offering free and retail ebooks. Users can now purchase books from the Android Market itself, making it easier than ever to obtain access to reading material on your Android device.
The e-books in the Android Market online are quick and easy to find and clicking on the results will get you a large splash page with images, information and user controls. You can also get a quick preview of the e-book and purchasing is simple and it can sync across your Google Editions accounts on multiple devices. You don’t need an Android tablet to use the new books directory. You can select any title and click the “Get it Now” button to add it to your Google Books account. From there you can read the title on any computer with a web browser, or access the books from a mobile device running the Google Books app for Android or iOS. The Barnes & Noble NOOK and Sony Reader eBook readers also support Google Books.
At first glance, the new ebook store is clean and easy to navigate, breaking down the library into categories listed on the left. Certain genres require extra effort to find such as “Horror” which is listed under the “Fiction” parent category. Science Fiction and Fantasy are listed as separate categories rather than serve as “Fiction” sub-categories. The e-book selection is solid but it’s not as fleshed out as the Kindle library and I still don’t think the experience is as nice as the Kindle or the iBooks. Still, it’s great to see Google making it simple to get this content via the Android Market online.
Now matter how strong the mobile platform continues to move forward, Google is still lagging behind Apple and iOS when it comes to multimedia content. The iTunes juggernaut gives Apple and advantage with the wealth of content it offers but having that easy payment method makes iOS users more likely to buy apps
Google is expected to add music and movies sections to the Android Market eventually, but for now it looks like we’ll have to content ourselves with books. The Market is divided into new arrivals, top selling eBooks, and top free books. You can also browser by category (biography, children’s, fiction, history, humor, etc) or view a list of New York Times Bestsellers.