Google and some of the world's top publishers are collaborating on a system to allow book downloads onto PCs in a format that would make the books available to read on screen or on a mobile device, according to Dominic Rushe at the Times of London.
While visions of Google eBooks may leap to mind, the article is scant on details. Rushe's source graf:
"Jens Redmer, director of Google Book Search in Europe, said: “We are working on a platform that will let publishers give readers full access to a book online.”"
It's hard to conclude that Google is working on eBooks from that statement, and a supporting quote from Redmer concerning the hypothetical reasons why readers would find eBooks convenient doesn't add much meat to the article either.
That's not to say Google wouldn't get into mobile eBooks. Google Book Search already allows PDF book downloads of past-copyrighted works. And, the publishing industry is facing the reality that Google Book Search may actually help book sales. But at least one publisher, HarperCollins, has implented its own online book search project. And color me skeptical that Google will be able to place ads around any type of copyrighted work from any of the big publishers, especially since those publishers (and the Author's Guild, BTW) are suing Google for its current Google Book project.
The commenters over at Slashdot offer some good pro and con arguments.