updated 10:30 am EST, Fri February 6, 2009
Ebooks on mobile phones
Google and Amazon have both taken steps to widen the availability of e-books, bringing a large number of titles onto mobile phones, according to the New York Times. iPhone and G1 owners will now have free access to the 1.5 million public domain books that Google has scanned so far for its desktop Book Search, although the mobile version is limited to just text. The current content only includes books with expired copyrights, but the company also plans to add out-of-print books or newer material after obtaining permission from publishing companies.
Amazon has taken a slightly different approach, with a project that aims to enable certain mobile phones to access content that is currently only available on its Kindle e-book reader.The company offers approximately 230,000 titles, including new releases and best sellers. An updated Kindle is expected to be launched sometime next week.
Both companies are taking advantage of the apparent rising trend in the use of e-books. Analysts estimate that Amazon may have shipped 500,000 Kindle devices in 2008, selling out of the readers during the holidays. Despite the smaller screen of the iPhone and iPod touch, reader apps such as Stanza and eReader continue to grow in popularity. The App Store also serves as a marketplace for individual books or collections.
[Image courtesy of Wired]