Despite all the setbacks and resistance, Google Books is notching victory after victory. Having secured a partnership with Sony to provide more than one million public domain books to its e-book store just recently, Google has managed to strike another deal, this time with the British company Interead, to supply the same amount of books with half a million available outside the US.
“Starting today, Coolerbooks.com will feature a Google API with out of copyright works from the Google Books index, accessible for free via the Coolerbooks.com website, and the COOL-ER ereader. With this partnership, Coolerbooks.com becomes the largest ebookstore in the world, with over one million titles available for purchase or free access,” the company announced. “Interead is also the company behind the COOL-ER ereader, a light, affordable and user-friendly ereader designed to be used by technophiles and tech-phobes alike.”
Coolerbooks.com is now the first e-book store outside the US to partner with Google and the first to offer such a large number of books, albeit out-of-copyright ones. The company bills itself as “by readers, for readers,” aiming to be as open as possible, offering users a greater flexibility than most other e-book stores. Coolerbooks makes its books available for users in 19 different document formats including the popular PDF and the more open ePub, while also offering its audiobooks in MP3 form. Like Google Books, readers can see a preview of a book they contemplate buying allowing them to read several pages.
The company also makes an e-book reader (it looks like you can't have an e-book store without a reader these days) called Cool-er, which has a very stylish design, though it has been met with mixed reviews, and is available in the US for $249. While the Google Books project is facing a number of battles in the US, Google is also plowing ahead securing more partnerships hoping to create greater competition in the e-book market, which is currently dominated by Amazon.