Now is a great time to try reading eBooks if you never gave it a shot. Why? Google (s goog) has 1.5 million public domain titles scanned and digitized in a small-screen format. Basically, if you can get to http://books.google.com/m on your phone’s browser, you’ve got access to all of these titles. Bear in mind that public domain titles aren’t going to include many modern books, but with 1.5 million choices, there has to be something for everyone.
My educational background is in economics so I’ve already hit up the Business & Economics section for a little Adam Smith. I’ve noticed one frustrating challenge right off the bat: the pages are grouped together, so there’s a ton of scrolling. The book I’m looking at groups the content in ten page chunks, so I have to scroll down through ten pages before getting to the next batch. It’s not a perfect experience and first time eBook readers shouldn’t be dismayed by this. Most, if not all, current eBook reading platforms offer a far better navigation experience.
One very cool trick: if you select any block of text, you can see the original text that was scanned. I did that with the first paragraph in this example so you can see what I mean. Based on the content and the navigation challenges, Google isn’t going to put eReader or Mobipocket out of business anytime soon. There’s also the offline factor: you can’t read the titles in Google’s library without a connection. Commercial platforms only need a connection to initially download content. Still, if you’ve got some time to kill and can get past the scrolling bit, your “personal” library just expanded more than you ever thought it would.