Thursday, July 01, 2010

Google Editions Should Be Nearing Launch

During the Frankfurt Book Fair last fall, Google began releasing details of their new, highly anticipated Google Editions, which they said would be launched in the first half of 2010.

Since today is the first day of the second half of the year, those details might not have been all that accurate. But in this post, we're going to review what we've heard.

Ian Paul of PC World had this to say here:
Google's e-books will be accessible through any Web-enabled computer, e-reader, or mobile phone instead of a dedicated device ... After you purchase and access your online book for the first time, it will be cached in your browser making the book available when you're offline.

To me this sounds like Google wants to turn the e-book, or more accurately the e-reader, into a Web App. Considering Google's push with its yet-to-be-unveiled Chrome OS and the Chrome browser, turning books into Web Apps isn't a particularly surprising move.
ReadWriteWeb reported here:
Google Editions will offer three business models. The first will allow a consumer to purchase the ebook from Google Books, Google's online collection of digitized books. The second will allow consumers to purchase from a partner retailer and the third would direct consumers to a publisher's website. In the first route, payments are split 63/37 in the publisher's favor. If purchasing from a retailer, that split would be 45/55 with the 45% going to the publisher and the retailer splitting the remaining 55% with Google. No decision has been made on the split for the third option, purchases made via a publisher's own website.
Two months ago, in early May, The Wall Street Journal indicated here that the launch date had been moved to "late June or July":
Google is still deciding whether it will follow the model where publishers set the retail price or whether Google sets the price ... Even the smallest independent bookstore will have access to a sophisticated electronic-book sales service with a vast selection of titles. "This levels the retail playing field," said Evan Schnittman, vice president of global business development for Oxford University Press.
Tuesday's New York Times expanded on the independent bookstore angle here:
Google is on the verge of completing a deal with the American Booksellers Association, the trade group for independent bookstores, to make Google Editions the primary source of e-books on the Web sites of hundreds of independent booksellers around the country, according to representatives of Google and the association ... The Google deal could give [independent bookstores] a foothold in this fast-growing market and help them keep devoted customers from migrating elsewhere.
So we have a very ambitious project that could free readers from being tied to a device, which in turn is tethered to a specific website like the iStore or Amazon or B&N.

Sound interesting? Stay tuned to see if Google puts out.

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