Google breaks through “book under glass”

Google breaks through “book under glass”

One of the knocks on e-books, from some people, is that they really haven’t taken advantage of their own technology.

Certainly, in the beginning, the marketing was about how much like a paperbook (p-book) they could be. After all, p-books have been an incredibly successful and satisfying technology. They have changed over time (popular paperbacks, as we know them, haven’t been around for a hundred years yet), but if I take one of my hardback original Oz books over the shelf, which is more than a century old, it feels and operates very much like a hardback you could buy today.

Why mess with near perfection?


Many of us already like some features in e-books that aren’t part of p-books.

A big one for me is the ability to increase the font size. Like a lot of folks, my vision isn’t what it used to be.

The in situ dictionary is also very popular.


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just haven’t taken over.

Some of them sell pretty well…there’s a yoga book, for example, that is a bestseller.

Still, I keep reading pieces by writers wondering when we will move away from the “book under glass”.

The time…is now. 🙂

It’s just beginning, but Google has announced an “experiment in unprintable books”…and you can try a sample now (in addition to buying them).

Editions at Play

I tested a sample on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX tablet…and it worked. 🙂

One of the things that I do think is cool about this is that they are trying different things.

The one I tried, Entrances & Exits by Reif Larson, shows you explorable Google street view maps of locations.

Did it still feel like a book?

Sure, there was a page of text…that’s one of Google’s few requirements, that they have pages.

When I went to the street view part, though, it didn’t feel integrated to me.

In another book, you can take sides…read the same story from two different viewpoints.

There are other ideas for books, and others that are coming soon. In one of them, the book deals with someone with memory issues…and the text will in some way erode to reflect that.

What might be the most fun for my readers is that you can submit ideas for books by tweeting

They are careful to say that this is not intended to replace books under glass…it’s another format, certainly.

Overall, I think it’s fascinating…and intriguing that Google got there before Amazon.

I guess that makes sense…Google is known for being experimental, and if Amazon did something, people would expect it to be a real consumer product when it debuted.

By the way, this is Google Australia, but I don’t think that matters much in this case…I’m in America, and i could get a sample and presumably purchase it. There’s also another company involved, Visual Editions.

I’d be interested in what you think about it. There is a presentation here:

but if you are interested, go to

Editions at Play

and get a sample.

It won’t work on an EBR (E-Book Reader) like a Kindle…it says it will work on Android and iOS, although as I mentioned, at least the one I tried worked on Fire OS (which is a “forked” version of Android).

If you do submit an idea for a book and want to share (or if it is selected for display by Google…I assume you’ll be willing to share then), I’d appreciate you letting me know.

What do you think of the idea? Intrigued? Uninterested? Do you think Amazon should have done it first…and should do it now? How popular do you think they would be? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


One Response to “Google breaks through “book under glass””

  1. Tonya Says:

    I’m excited about this! I’ve often read the Bible or a history/war book and wished I could see the lay of the land or hear the sounds. How about a coloring book that can be colored on e-reader and then animates! This solves cook book issues–read a recipe-see a recipe-smell a recipe-tutorial a recipe! Travel books that provide a 3D experience. Action scenes in novels that are CGI. Lots of possibilities to enhance the reading experience.

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