From: Jim O'Donnell <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2013 19:55:41 +0800
I'm in Singapore attending the IFLA meetings. Long trip, but I made a
bold and brave decision to depend for my reading material on this trip
entirely on my iPad -- Kindle, iBooks, and "Google Play" (formerly
known as Google Books). A single slim volume of Shakespeare's Sonnets
accompanies me in codex form to give me something to read during the
ritual shutdown of electronic devices on the planes.
So when I got here, I noticed that several of my iPad apps had updates
on offer, so I clicked and approved. One of them was Google Play.
When it finished and I went to open the app, it told me that it needed
to update my book files and this might take several minutes. Time
passed and the screen filled in the covers of the 30 or 40 titles I
keep live on the machine. Two of them were books I am actively
reading for my teaching this fall.
But all of my books had un-downloaded and needed to be downloaded
again. The app is an inefficient downloader, almost as bad as the New
Yorker app, so I dreaded this, but clicked on the two I needed most at
once. (I checked the amount of storage used, and indeed the files
really have gone off my tablet.)
And it balked. It turns out that because I am not in a country where
Google Books is an approved enterprise (which encompasses most of the
countries on the planet), I cannot download. Local wisdom among the
wizards here speculates that the undownloading occurred when the
update noted that I was outside the US borders and so intervened.
Atypically, Google has Google Play help service available by email,
but a series of exchanges demonstrated that the droids at the Android
Store were neither able to comprehend my issue, sympathize with my
plight, or offer a remedy. I must return to the US to be allowed to
spend a few hours redownloading "my" books before I can read them
again. At one point they asked what features I might suggest be
added to Google Play. I suggested "Don't Be Evil", but got no
Fortunately, archive.org had a non-Google scan of the 19th century
book I needed most; it downloaded just fine and I'm reading it in
GoodReader, which appears not to care what country I am in.