Google announced the first Google eBooks-integrated e-reader on their blog on Monday. Unfortunately, this post has spiralled-off into a series of misinformed articles stating that Google has launched an e-reader. They have not. I promise.
We built the Google eBooks platform to be open to all publishers, retailers and manufacturers. Manufacturers like iriver can use Google Books APIs and services to connect their devices to the full Google eBooks catalog for out-of-the-box access to a complete ebookstore. You can also store your personal ebooks library in the cloud—picking up where you left off in any ebook you’re reading as you move from laptop to smartphone to e-reader to tablet.
The key line from the above paragraph:
Manufacturers like iriver can use Google Books APIs and services to connect their devices to the full Google eBooks catalog for out-of-the-box access to a complete ebookstore.
What does that mean?
This is not Google’s e-reader. Instead, it is an e-reader built by iriver and called the Story HD that has taken advantage of Google Books APIs and services to create built-in access to Google eBooks. Google made an announcement about the device on their blog because it’s the first device with built-in access to Google eBooks at launch and that’s exciting.
To put it another way, saying “Google e-Reader” is the same thing as saying “Kobo PlayBook” (thanks to Kelvin Kong for that one) where the BlackBerry PlayBook comes pre-loaded with the Kobo app. Think of it like a pre-loaded app: iriver made the device, Google made the access to e-books.