Google's eBooks platform is about to hit the big time, or at least try to. The first e-reader to be integrated with it will start being sold at Target stores on Sunday, July 17. The device would be the iRiver Story HD.
With this device, which costs $139.99, users can buy and read Google eBooks over Wi-Fi. Google describes it as "slim and lightweight with a high-resolution e-ink screen and a QWERTY keyboard for easy searching."
"It includes over-the-air access to hundreds of thousands of Google eBooks for sale and more than 3 million for free," writes Google Books Product Manager Pratip Banerji. "With the Story HD you can now browse, buy and read Google eBooks with your e-reader through Wi-Fi, rather than downloading and transferring them from computer to e-reader with a cord as you can already do with more than 80 compatible devices."
"We built the Google eBooks platform to be open to all publishers, retailers and manufacturers," says Banerji.
In other words, expect plenty more options to choose from if Google eBook is your platform of choice. With buzz about Google+ building as a potential threat to Facebook, it will be interesting to see if Google eBooks itself picks up some more steam along the way, for the simple fact that people will presumably be finding themselves spending more time on Google properties, where Google could implement any number of integrations/features.
"Manufacturers like iRiver can use Google Books APIs and services to connect their devices to the full Google eBooks catalog for out-of-the-box access to a complete bookstore," says Banerji. "You can also store your personal ebooks library in the cloud—picking up where you left off in any ebook you’re reading as you move from laptop to smartphone to e-reader to tablet."
Google eBooks currently counts over 250 independent bookstores among its offerings.