We're often talking about the energy efficiency of e-readers. And e-books are becoming ever more the medium of choice for fast and easy access to materials. Google sees this, and wants in on the market. However, their set-up may take the energy efficiency right out of the e-book experience.e-Books Won't Be Downloadable
Google is looking to sell e-books directly, and become a competitor of Amazon. However, so far their intent is to make e-books available on a browser, and not be downloadable to a device like a Kindle or Sony Reader. This means users would have to be on a device that can access the internet, such as a smart phone or computer. Not only does that bypass what is becoming a promenant part of the digital reading experience - e-paper, which is gentle on the eyes - but it also bypasses what could be one of the most important parts of the efficiency of digital books.
Skip a New Device, But Lose on Efficiency
True, by providing e-books in this way, Google is cutting out the need for a device dedicated to reading e-books. And with the e-paper market going nuts, caution here is appreciated. However, the alternative is to use devices that are bigger energy hogs.
We've already seen that if you read a newspaper online for longer than 30 minutes, you might as well go pick up the paper version. And when it comes to reading online or in print, it's a bit of a draw depending on how you look at it, whereas e-paper passed up paper in a lifecycle analysis test. So it looks like reading e-books purchased via Google won't be a terribly green way to access a novel, despite the fact that you're using a gadget you already own.
Another downside is you'd have to be connected to the internet, or access an offline version stored in your browser's cache. Also not terribly convenient.
We'll keep an eye on the Google e-book news, and keep you updated on your green reading options as more details about the new service surface.
Via New York Times
More on Greener Reading Options
Read Online or In Print: What’s the Greener Way to Get Your News?
Green Your Media: Download Audio Books for Free from Your Local Library
Green Your Book Buying