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Students, rejoice ... and squint! Google rents out textbooks to mobes

Mountain View takes careful aim at academic publishers

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Google is offering fanbois and fandroids the chance to borrow academic textbooks on their smartphones.

The update to the Chocolate Factory's Google Play app to allow the lending of textbooks, which often prove prohibitively expensive for students.

Its iOS update adds the ability to borrow rental books, something that fandroids can already do.

The ability to borrow textbooks is likely to be a big draw for students who are preparing to start their autumn term in September. Penny-pinching students will be able to see which books are available to rent by visiting the Google Play store.

Apple already offers textbooks through its iBooks app and is said to be building in school and university-friendly functionality into iOS 7.

In a rather ironic nod to the past, when the book industry was thriving, the Chocolate Factory's updated app now also features a new sepia mode, allowing readers to also think of a time when tax-avoiding American corporations didn't rule the world. Although it's getting pretty hard to remember those halycon days.

Notes can also be written straight into the app, although borrowed textbooks won't come with the usual scrawled gibberish that usually festoons the pages of tomes borrowed from the university library. ®

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