Sunday, December 12, 2010

Don't believe the rhetoric behind Google's new, "open" e-book store. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine

Final paragraph of a timely Google eBooks reality check (via Tad Staley, who also noted that the comment-based article discussion is useful)

I'm not arguing that "openness" is a bad thing in the tech business. What I'm saying is that it is not an unmitigated virtue, and it's not necessarily the first thing people should care about when they're shopping for a product. I'm glad that Google has introduced its new bookstore, because the e-book industry would obviously benefit from more competition. But I'd be even happier if Google wasn't touting half-closed openness as its store's main selling point. In the absence of real openness, Google ought to have something that Amazon doesn't: more books, cheaper books, prettier books, books with more functions, more reviews of books, better recommendations, some kind of social-networking integration—something, anything, that would distinguish it from the bookselling herd. Calling something "open" isn't enough, especially when it's actually closed.

Don't believe the rhetoric behind Google's new, "open" e-book store. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine

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