Saturday, November 5, 2011

Google eBookstore comes to Canada . . . yawn!

Once again, Canada is an afterthought . . . a secondary consideration . . . a market to be quietly appeased . . . and one expected to be satisfied with an inferior product.

Almost a year after it was launched in the US, Google launched their eBookstore in Canada this week. So far, I'm completely underwhelmed. Out of 17 books I priced at and (my primary sources for Canadian books), Google only offers 8 - that's less than half. As for their boast of Great Books at Great Prices, only 1 of those 8 books was cheaper than Kobo - by a whopping ten cents. As for the rest, they were exactly the same price.

Hoping Google might offer some unique titles that are otherwise unavailable, as a way of compensating for their inferior selection and less-than-stellar pricing, I did a search for about 30 books I've been unable to find electronically. Not a single one of them was available from Google.

I realise there are licensing and regulatory issues involved, and companies like Google and Amazon don't want to delay a launch to the much larger US market, but it's still annoying to be denied something that is readily available just a few miles away, and then to be saddled with an inferior imitation once it does become available. That's the entire reason I have a Sony Reader and not a Kindle. I so desperately wanted a Kindle when it was first released, I even considered renting a PO Box to provide me with a US billing address. When the Kindle was announced internationally, I thought my patience had finally paid off . . . except Canada wasn't included in that launch either. Don't get me wrong, I love my Sony, but I bought it purely out of spite, not as a preference.

Here's hoping Google eBookstore will get bigger and better, but so far it doesn't offer my anything I don't already have through my other sources. Unless something significant happens soon, when it comes to new purchases, it will be to me exactly what I was to it . . . an afterthought.

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