Why should anyone be surprised?
Google is where Sony was at with eBooks at the beginning. This means there are no freebies unless you have an account with a credit card linked to it.
Google claims this is due to territorial rights. That’s utter bullshit. I can get freebies from Kindle Store, Sony, Borders, and Kobo without any credit card linked to my account. The only major player that requires a credit card is Barnes & Noble, which demands it for its mutant DRM.
Sony smartened up — with me screaming at them (I’m sure others did too — or at least they got scared shitless by Amazon and finally woke up) — and changed.
Google change? I don’t think so.
Anyone out there ever get a marketing email from Google eBookstore? I never have. I sure get them from Borders, Kobo, and Sony. Even from Books on Board — and I don’t even have an account there!
I haven’t mentioned Google eBookstore since the beginning. Why bother? I keep forgetting it exists and I think most people do too. It seems that even Google itself now wants to forget it exists.