We are excited to see commercial books from many publishers being made available through web browser technology from Google eBookstore. As a standards based system, reading in a browser offers an opportunity for many more people to actively participate in the evolving digital book ecology.
The advantage of “books in browsers” over dedicated devices and even app store-based selling is that books can come from any website, read on many more devices, and be findable with standard search technologies.
Buying books that are delivered in a browser is now being demonstrated on a massive scale by Google. This is great news as it shows that the security measures offered are good enough for commercial players.
Lending books through a browser that recreates the traditional library-check-out system was demonstrated at the Books in Browsers 2010 summit at the Internet Archive. Lending and vending of books using browsers can pave the way for many winners:
Authors can find wider distribution for their work.
Publishers both big and small can now distribute books directly to readers.
Book sellers can find new and larger audiences for their products.
Device makers can offer access to millions of books instantly.
Libraries can continue to loan books in the way that patrons expect.
Readers could start to get universal access to all knowledge.
I am especially excited to see the possibilities in platform independent social reading and beautifully designed ebooks that could come from browser based books.