Google Books is one of the offerings that completely blows my mind. The fact that I can now read magazines that was published way back before I was even born is absolutely astounding. The only teensy-weensy flaw that makes me cringe is the lack of offline support. If the magazine or classic that I’m reading is free, then it should be made freely available — even offline.
That’s where Google Book Downloader comes in. Apparently Varun wrote about a similar application for Windows a while back. Just to clear any confusion, that app was called Melon Google Books Downloader and weirdly, it seems to have disappeared.
This nifty Mac application allows you to download Google Books as PDF files and read them offline just like any other ebook you download. You can then sync those files to your iPhone, Android or any other mobile device which supports PDF. It’s very simple to use and quick too. Let’s run through it once, shall we?
Download the application from the developer’s site hac the planet. As you can plainly see from the site, Google Book Downloader was designed to run with Leopard. However, I’m running Snow Leopard and the application works without a glitch.
Perform the usual ritual of mounting the DMG and dragging the app to your Applications folder. Then there’s nothing left for you to do but run it. Basically, the app is a downloader and compiler. So don’t expect a juicy graphical user interface. All you get is an input field and a big Download button.
Let me first point out that not all ebooks can be downloaded from Google Books. If you’re thinking that you will be able to download complete copies of ebooks with limited preview, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Again, only free ebooks will be available for download.
In order to make any free ebook from Google Books into a PDF, copy the URL and paste it into the input field in Google Book Downloader. Hit Download and watch the magic happen.
Google Book Downloader will retrieve the title of the ebook along with the contents and compile them into a nice little PDF. Now you will be able to read the ebook offline or on the go with your mobile device.
As with every application, we have to discover the options Google Book Downloader allows. The only notable preference here is the width of the resulting document. Google Books Downloader will let you customise the width of the output PDF file. Why is this cool? Well because if the ebook is mainly text, then you can select to have the width equal the original document. However, if the ebook is mainly images, you can save some space by downsizing it — making it easier to copy over to and view from your mobile device.
Google Book Downloader works only on Mac OS X 10.5 and above. Download it here.
Do you prefer reading ebooks online or offline? Do you prefer having your ebook with you on the go? Are you familiar with any other tool that lets download Google Books ebooks as PDF files. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.