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Google Book Search On The iPhone, Amazon Next?

February 9, 2009
If you are one of those people who just can't get enough books on your iPhone, we have news for you. Google has recently made its online Book Search catalog available for the iPhone and Amazon could be next. Google Book Search offers U.S. iPhone users an online catalog of about 1.5 million books (about 500,000 international) that have become available to Google through either expired copyrights or open licenses. There is no need to download an application, just use Google's optimized web viewer and you are set. Instead of using raw book images like its computer counterpart, Google used an automatic text scanning technology to reformat the books for smaller mobile screens. Some of the books proved to be more difficult to scan than others and aren't available at this time for mobile viewing but Google is hard at work improving the technology. Google is also trying to bring even more out-of-print titles along with more current books for mobile viewing, they just need to get permission from more publishing companies. Amazon also intends to bring more e-books to mobile devices but it's not yet clear what platforms will be included.
“We are excited to make Kindle books available on a range of mobile phones,” said Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Amazon. “We are working on that now.”
Amazon has had success with its Kindle mobile book reader, now offering about 230,000 available for download. It has been so popular that Amazon has just announced today that the Kindle 2 will be available February 24, 2009 through their website. Releasing the same books for the iPhone that are already available for the Kindle might not be such a bad idea. People who already own an iPhone probably have no intentions of purchasing another expensive mobile device specifically designed for reading books and the iPhone has a fairly untapped e-book market, there are other applications available but they offer only a fraction of titles that Google and Amazon both offer. The iPhone may not be the best device to read an entire book on but it is convenient for short, on-the-go sessions. [via N.Y. Times]

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