Google said yesterday that the 1.5 million public domain books it has scanned can now be accessed on mobile devices like the iPhone. At the same time, Amazon said that it was planning to make the titles available on its e-book reader the Kindle accessible on certain cell phones.
If you're a reader of Tolstoy and Dickens, Google's announcement should make your day. Its offerings are largely books now in the public domain. If your tastes tend more toward Paolini and Grisham, Amazon's news is aimed at you. Their Kindle catalog is 250,000 titles strong and includes many recent topsellers.
Will news like this crush prospects for the Kindle? Unlikely, says an article in today's New York Times. "[J]ust as camera phones have not replaced digital cameras, smartphones are not likely to replace dedicated e-book readers like the Kindle," predicts the Times. Cell phone reading is good in a pinch but long term it hurts the eyes.
Amazon hasn't yet released details about which phones will work with its product. Everyone will have to wait till Monday when the company holds a press conference at which they are also expected to launch their new improved version of the Kindle.