Summary:

For all the legal drama with the Justice Dept and authors’ and publishers’ trade groups about potential ad revenues and anti-trust concerns…

Amazon Kindle vs. Sony eBook
photo: jblyberg

For all the legal drama with the Justice Dept and authors’ and publishers’ trade groups about potential ad revenues and anti-trust concerns — you’d think that Google Books was one of the company’s most popular products.

But on the contrary, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) apparently wants people to use its online book search engine and repository so badly, that it’s giving away 30 free Sony (NYSE: SNE) Readers over the next 10 days as part of a new promotion.

Users are invited to play a scavenger hunt/trivia-style game that taps into Google Books’ relatively new “search inside” feature, which combs through the text on each scanned page. They need to answer five questions — like, “In which F. Scott Fitzgerald novel do these song lyrics appear?” — to be eligible.

ReadWriteWeb suggests that the promo serves both to attract new users and help Google drum up goodwill (and some positive brand association) within the literary community. This makes sense, given that Google plans to make money from both Google Book search ads and potential e-book sales.

But we have to wonder whether there’s some kind of a bigger strategic partnership in the works between Google and Sony — after all, why not entice users with the hottest eReader out there right now — an Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) Kindle? (Google already teamed up with Sony to provide over 500,000 copyright-expired titles for the Reader in March).

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