Google offers free book downloads


Google has launched a service to allow users to download PDF versions of classic and public domain novels and books and print them out.

It’s a potential threat to traditional book retailers, both on and offline, though I wonder who will want to print out their own books at home, given the amount of paper and ink or toner it would take, and the fact that you’ll generally end up with something looking more like a report than a book.

People will still want proper books, according to book sellers, and they’re probably right. Even in our technological age, there’s something good about picking up a real book with a decent cover and well printed and bound pages.

The service still appeals, though, particularly if portable document readers become more commonplace. Reading from the screen is generally uncomfortable and less portable, but the technology keeps advancing. Now there’ll be a free source of fiction – if not the latest bestseller – available online, though to get it all you might have to wait a bit: Google reckon it’ll take about 300 years to make all the world’s information available online.

Pah, if anyone can do it, Google can…

Andy Merrett
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