Google Books for Android needs to work out some bugs

by Tim McLain

In early December, Google took the wrappings off its e-book store and posted e-reader software for several platforms.

All in all, Google Books is a plain-jane e-book reader app for Android devices, making it relatively painless to browse, purchase, and read titles offered through the Google service across multiple platforms, without the need to purchase a specific e-reader device.

Google Books cleanly organizes your books for easy access, and makes browsing a breeze. When you're ready to buy a book, you'll need to use Google Checkout to complete your purchase.

Your title is immediately downloaded from the cloud to your device, and unlocks the content so it can be synced to any device you have that can run Google's e-reader software. Best of all, you can move from device to device to read your books, and know that your last read page is bookmarked in the cloud. If you go to your PC to continue reading, you'll start right where you left off on your phone.

Interestingly, you can switch from standard reading mode to view the originally scanned images of each page. If you're really seeking that level of detail, it's available to you, and it's one visible byproduct of the company delving into its own in-house digitization efforts.

But all is not perfect in this first release. Prices for several titles were noticeably higher in Google's store vs. Amazon and Barnes & Noble, adding $2.00-$4.00 to the cost of some popular titles. You also can't add multiple bookmarks to your e-books, and no in-book searching is available yet. Look for updates to clean up these items in the near future.