Google Play is now taking ebook pre-orders

Why? No idea

TODO alt text

Pre-ordering hasn't taken hold of the ebook industry in the same way it has video games, but that may be about to change, as Google announced on Wednesday that pre-orders for digital books are now available in the Google Play store.

Users who pre-order ebooks on the Google Play store won't have to pay up front, but rather will be charged automatically once the books are available, a Google spokesperson confirmed to TechRadar via email.

Upon release, a pre-ordered book will appear immediately in users' online libraries.

New and available

Google added a "New and Available for Pre-Order" section to the Google Play store on Wednesday, indicating that the shift to ebook pre-orders took effect immediately.

No doubt the selection of ebooks available for pre-order will constantly rotate, though a forthcoming Tom Clancy book sat at the top Wednesday.

Notably, if a book's pricing or release date changes, pre-orders for that title will be cancelled and must be re-purchased.

According to Phone Arena, book pre-orders are also available on Android devices in addition to the Google Play website.

What's the point?

Incredibly popular books like new titles in the Harry Potter series must occasionally be pre-ordered in physical form to ensure receipt upon release, as supplies can be limited.

But it's unclear what the purpose of pre-ordering a digital book might be, unless Google plans to allow publishers and authors to begin offering pre-order incentives like advance chapters or digital special features - something that isn't unheard of.

Google informed TechRadar that it has nothing to announce at this time regarding the possibility of ebook pre-order incentives, but a spokesperson did clarify that pre-orders are now available in all countries that have Google Play books, not just in the U.S.

Via Engadget