Announcment: Google to Launch e-Bookstore

Announcment: Google to Launch e-Bookstore

The Wall Street Journal , Google will begin selling e-books in June or July 2010. Chris Palma, Google’s manager for strategic-partner development, announced the timetable at a Book Industry Study Group-sponsored panel entitled “The Book on Google: Is the Future of Publishing in the Cloud?”

Google has been making references to its plan to start it’s own bookstore for years  now but has never defined its strategy. The new service, called Google Editions, will let users buy digital copies of books they discover through its book-search service but will also let book retailers of all sizes sell Google Editions on their own sites, keeping most of the revenue. When it launches, Google Editions is expected to have around 500,000 titles. There are no details about participating publishers or pricing, however. The company seems to be debating whether or not  it will follow the model where publishers set the retail price or whether Google sets the price.

Google Editions users would be able to read books from a web browser so the type of e-reader device wouldn’t matter. It would be expected then that software that could be run on an iPad or Kindle etc…would be in the offing.

The fact that Google would allow even the smallest of vendors to participate, have access to such a variety of sources  and gain revenue from Google Editions could belay the worries of such vendors that they would be squeezed out of the e-book frenzy. Publishers would not have to woory about creating device-based content. Any consumer that has a Google account would have access to the content.

Google is not known for its retailing prowess. The Nexus One was a slow seller many believe to Google’s inexperience with actually having to advertise its products. Since then it has a marginally successful Android app store and does market business software. Also remember Google’s attempt to distribute millions of books now out-of-print. A U.S. District Court will soon make judgement on the case of Google vs. various authors and publishers. Google Editions retains Google’s entrepreneurial goals as well ast its altruistic ones and does not infringe on  but helps others as long as they get the word out.

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