Will Google ever reopen signups for its Google Play Books self-publishing platform?

Google “temporarily” stopped allowing new publishers to sign up for its Google Play Books Partner Center more than a year ago, largely due to rampant piracy on the service. Now, a year and a half later (it was originally shuttered in May of 2015), the Partner Center still hasn’t opened back up…

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‘Netflix for books’ service Oyster shutting down as Google acquihires the key execs

Oyster, the ‘Netflix for books’ service that provided unlimited access to over a million books for a .95 monthly subscription, is closing, with Re/code reporting that its CEO and two co-founders have been ‘acquihired’ by Google.

It’s not known at this stage whether Google plans to relaunch the service as a Google-branded product. Oyster said in a blog post that members that they will receive an email with more information in the next few weeks, and Google declined to comment …  more…

Google Play Books comes to Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and 5 more new countries

This one’s a quick one. Google has today launched Google Play Books in 9 new countries, bringing the total number of locales that have access to the service to 75. Those residing in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates will find that they can use Play Books effective immediately.

On a related note, Google updated Play Books this time last month with a new Night Light mode that lets you read in the dark without killing your eyes. Hopefully they’ll bring this feature to the OS as a whole soon, just like Apple is planning to do with the launch of iOS 9.3. Most of us have been using this on our desktops with F.lux.

Google officially introduces Literata, the new default font for Play Books

Google today introduced its new default font family for Google Play Books, tweeting to show off the new typeface and saying that it’s “perfect for long reads on all devices.”

The new typeface default was actually included in Play Books version 3.4.5, released May 6th, alongside a new card-based interface for text translation and the ability to create notes in book samples. This, however, is the first time that Google has drawn any attention to the new font which replaces Droid Serif as the default.

The company commissioned the font from Type Together, a firm focused on creating new type designs tailored for corporate use. The group often works alongside companies like Google, and here’s what the design firm said about the challenge designing for digital books:

A new book typeface was needed that would provide an outstanding reading experience on a whole range of devices and high resolution screens running different rendering technologies. Additionally, the new Play Books type is meant to establish a recognisable visual identity for Google’s native eBook App and stylistically distinguish itself from other eReader competitors.

The electronic or digital book represents one of the most important challenge designers and developers face today. The technical limitations of devices regarding rendering of type, together with their variety of physical sizes, are only two of the main obstacles eBooks have to tackle. These facts contribute to an unfair yet appropriate comparison with their analog counterpart, where typography plays a leading role. The Play Books project offered an opportunity to approach some of these problems from a new perspective.

And further, how they arrived at the style they chose:

TypeTogether’s counterpart team at Google, lead by senior UX designer Addy Lee Beavers, agreed that the desired typeface should have a more interesting and varied texture than other fonts being used in eBooks or ones generally developed for on-screen use. This could be achieved by means of slanted stress, less mechanic letter structure and varied horizontal proportions of characters. Based on these premises and on an intensive iterative process, TypeTogether arrived at a solution of hybridisation taking inspiration from both Scotch and old-style Roman types. The resulting letterforms create a pleasant organic texture that helps to deliver very good results for ease of reading and comfort.

Literata most notably has a lower x-height and higher ascenders than Droid Serif, and features two different weights and matching italics. It includes PanEuropean language support—meaning that Western, Central, and Eastern European languages are all included—as well as type for full Latin extended, Polytonic Greek, and Cyrillic.

Type Together has made more pictures of the typeface available on Flickr.

 

Filed under: Google Corporate