October 7, 2011
Google Books Comes To The UK
Cheap tablets from competitors may have had one effect on Google. Amazon has released the Kindle Fire as a convenient front end to its massive store with expectations that the Fire will be sold globally. Google Books was never available in Europe or the UK, which was fine before Google set up its own bookstore. Now that there is money to be made Google can't leave the book store market exclusively to Apple and Amazon. Hence Google Books is now available in the UK via an Android app and the browser. There are three million titles available, though a good chunk of them are the public domain titles we've come to know and love in the United States. Google has struck licensing deals with publishers Hachette, Random House and Penguin to sell titles.
More on this is available in the Telegraph. The Daily Mail adds that video rentals via YouTube are another feature Google is offering to UK consumers. It's odd that Google hasn't been that aggressive in marketing content in Europe and the UK until the competition started to heat up. Maybe it's the antitrust issue where Google escapes some official criticism because its stepping into an existing market rather than inventing it. [MG]