Yesterday Google added the Book section to the Android Market, and I decided to try it out and buy a book. As I wrote in my post about the purchasing experience, after the sale completed I saw a message box saying that the purchase was being processed.
This morning I picked up my Nexus S, expecting to see a notification on my phone that the book was downloaded, but there was no notification. I then checked my e-mail to see if I had received a message from Google telling me the book was available, but I did not receive an e-mail from Google. Next, I opened Books on my phone and pressed Menu, Refresh, but the book that I purchased did not appear.
My next step was to open the e-mail receipt sent to me from Google Checkout when I purchased the book. I clicked the link that started with “Get Up-To-Date Information…”, which opened the receipt online that now had a message with a link titled “Click Here To Retrieve Your Purchase.” Clicking through opens the book in the web Books app. I then opened Books again on my Nexus S, did another Refresh, and finally the book appeared on the phone. I have also been able to open the book and read it on my iPad.
So, to summarize, if you buy a book from Google and want to read it on your Android phone, you need to check the e-mail order receipt sent to you from Google Checkout, click the Get Up-To-Date Information link, and look for a Click Here To Retrieve Your Purchase link. If you see the link, click it, then open Books on your phone and do a refresh.
Clearly, Google needs to fix their purchase process for eBooks if they are to compete with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Book purchases ought to be automatically pushed to the phone, just as app purchases are done today. If Google can not get book purchases pushed to the phone right away, they ought to send an e-mail notification when the book is available, and at the very least they can add instructions to the receipt e-mail that tells customers to check the status of their order.