ebook options in the chrome web store

A question a colleague wrote–in response to my first look at the Google CR-48 notebook–sent me off on a journey of discovery:

This sounds promising. Have you tried any of the eReader apps on it yet?

In working with the CR48, I have found myself wondering the same question, especially as I carried the  lightweight pieces of technology–my Nook and CR-48, as well as my Android phone–around with me. I activated the free, monthly 100 megs of Verizon 3G service, so I can download content no matter where I’m at if I am out of reach of WiFi.

Still, a niggling part of my mind is asking, “Is that two too many pieces of tech to be carrying around on your shoulder?” The answer is probably an affirmative, but aren’t all these technologies disposable or in between devices that will get us to the next technology that will rule them all?

That said, I love to write while I’m reading…that’s why I’m a blogger. It’s a natural fit to consider whether reading ebooks, writing about them in a blog or a wiki–the kind of activity a student might engage in while reading a classic literature title–would be workable.

What would an ebook look like on the Chrome OS that powers the interface to the CR-48? Well, it would look like what you see when you open up either one of the following ebook readers…

Option 1 – MagicScroll.net


This is a nice web app that I had not seen before. Simply put, it allows you to upload ebooks in ePub format to their storage space, then access them from any browser you’ve activated with your email account. As you move from computer to computer, accessing their web site from your browser, you can upload books, delete them, etc. It is “cloud storage” for your ePub books.
As you might have guessed, I had worried about storing ePub files on the CR48 because it, well, lacks storage space. That’s a feature, not a bug, of course. But if information is to be stored in the cloud, where might it be stored to be accessible?
As I reflect on my experience with MagicScroll, it would have been neat to not have to depend on their 50 megs of storage space, and instead just point it to a URL where the ePub file is stored…like maybe on Dropbox or SugarSync. That would make Dropbox’ 4-6 gigs of free storage space the equivalent of my Nook!
The interface in MagicScroll.net is pretty nice:
You can see the settings in the top left-hand corner:
and adjust settings by clicking on the settings button:

BTW, in case you’re curious, I pulled the titles in my MagicScroll.net from Baen Free Library, a plethora of free science fiction titles from great authors.

Option 2 – GoogleBooks

Obviously, Books.Google.com is accessible on the CR-48. It’s not my favorite collection of books, most of the free titles being OLD, but I would have happily read Zane Grey–though once you’ve read Louis L’Amour or Max Brand, well, Zane Grey books are a bit hokey…still for historical reasons–over again, not to mention the classics. Surely, some English teacher is working with Zane Grey writing style analysis?
That said, of the two services, being able to upload ePub books to a cloud storage and then access it conveniently is a desirable service. I wish I could put my epub library into GoogleDocs and then access it for reading. 
Hmm…[trying that out].  Nope, that won’t work. I just went and tried putting ePub into GoogleDocs–where I have 80gigs of storage–and hoping that it would allow me to view the ePub format. It didn’t work, but it does raise an possibility worth considering.
GoogleDocs developers, will you please add support for viewing ePubs stored in GoogleDocs? While you’re at it, add support for creating ePubs with GoogleDocs. Just imagine the possibilities in K-16!

Option 3 – Wattpad.com

This provides access to lots of ebooks you can read online through the browser. I didn’t spend much time, but there are sure to be some titles worth reading. I found one fairly quickly that caught my interest, but probably not going to be as rich a source of content.

Also, in question for any of these options, are my ePub files subject to review by others or is that work kept confidential for my own reading? You know what I mean? This is a challenge for any cloud computing app…will the content I’m consuming online, or creating for that matter, remain confidential to the reader?

And, for those of you curious about what my Google Chrome on the CR-48 looks like, well, it looks like this (after attempts and deletions):

Then, I’ve only just begun….

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure