After relaunching in March 2012 as Google Play, Google's foray into the digital content store arena seems to have finally coalesced into what the relaunch was originally intended to cater to: content for Google Nexus.
The homepage for Google Play in July places Nexus--most notably the Google Nexus 7 tablet (releasing in July)--front and center, much like Amazon's homepage treatment of its Kindle products. Underneath the Nexus link, the content categories are listed, with music first, followed by books. On the homepage, there are five bestselling "Top Books" and four "Featured Books."
The Books page itself features a carousel of current deals and promotions, including (as of July 2) the "Deal of the Week" on Patrick O'Brian's books for $3.99, summer favorites for kids starting at $1.99, and a "Free Sneak Preview" of Chris Cleave's new novel Gold. The latter, which received a mention in Gold's full-page ad in the July 1 New York Times Book Review, is comprised of an extended excerpt from the book, as well as a letter from Cleave to readers, a Q&A with Cleave, and an essay on fatherhood.
Under the carousel, Google Play's main feature is "Books for $3.99 or Less," which links to a listing of 60 books by authors from John Fowles to Malcolm Gladwell to Emily Griffin. The books are priced the same as Kindle books on Amazon. Google and Amazon differ, however, in their bestselling books. All three respective Hunger Games and 50 Shades books are at the top of both sites, but the first book on Google's bestseller list after those titles is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. On Kindle, the book is ranked #1,819. Other disparaties include Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (#4 on Kindle, on page four of Google Play's bestsellers) and The Great Gatsby, which is benefitting from Google Play's $0.99 price point and is #10 on the site; the Kindle edition is priced at $12.99 and is ranked #261. Unlike Amazon, Google Play does not include sales rankings for any books--the only indication of how well a book is doing is their bestseller page.
The rest of Google Play's Books page resembles Amazon with its recommendations, new books in various categories, and staff recommendations, but Google Play's layout is less crowded (and much cleaner than previous iterations of Google's e-bookstore)--featuring less books with bigger jacket thumbnails. This difference in layout is a sign of the difference in strategy between Amazon and Google Play: while the former is promoting its vast library and presenting more choices, the latter is more concerned with a curation tailored toward only the most popular current books.