The Wall Street Journal reports
that Google plans to launch its e-book venture
, Google Editions, before the end of 2010. Google is a relative latecomer to the e-book game, but the company hopes that its unconventional approach will help it compete with Amazon, which is believed to have as much as 65 percent of the market. With Google Editions, users can buy books from Google itself or from online retailing partners, including a number of independent bookstores. Also, the Google Editions service won't be linked to a specific device; rather, users will be able to read their books "on most devices with a Web browser, including personal computers, smartphones and tablets." Here's what people are saying about the latest Google curveball:
- How It's Different From Amazon The Journal notes that Google Edition's model--buy from lots of different places, read on almost any device--will stand in contrast to Amazon's, where "users
of its proprietary Kindle device can purchase books only from an Amazon
store, although they can read them on dozens of different devices that
run Kindle software and can access free books from other sources."
- Google's Vision: The Web as One Giant Bookstore The Journal goes on to report that "Google
says it is on a mission to reach all Internet users, not just those
with tablets, through a program in which websites refer their users to
Google Editions. For example, a surfing-related blog could recommend a
surfing book, point readers to Google Editions to purchase it, and share
revenue with Google. Through another program, booksellers could sell
Google Editions e-books from their websites and share revenue with
is going to turn every Internet space that talks about a book into a
place where you can buy that book,' says Dominique Raccah, publisher and
owner of Sourcebooks Inc., an independent publisher."
- Three Cheers for Device Flexibility, writes Robert Quigley at Geekosystem. "One of the most common complaints about the e-book landscape in its
current incarnation is that most book sales are so closely tied to
sister devices — Amazon books to the Kindle, B&N books to the Nook,
Borders books to the Kobo, and so on, with clunky porting and in some
cases reduced functionality when attempting to read outside books in
addition to restrictive DRM. Against that backdrop, an e-book store that
sold easily portable books could have a lot of appeal, although it
waits to be seen whether Google's execution will be a success."
- May Not Matter That This Didn't Come Sooner, writes Douglas McIntyre at DailyFinance. "It would be easy to dismiss Google's new project because it is late to
enter a market in which large competitors have loyal customers. But it's
worth remembering that Google's mobile operating system, Android,
entered its market late. The mobile OS world was dominated by Symbian,
Microsoft (MSFT) Apple (AAPL), and Research In Motion (RIMM).
Google created a model that made it attractive to handset companies. If
Google Editions offers special features and innovative technology, it
can't be counted out of the race."
- How Will Revenue Break Down? wonders Tameka Kee at the marketing firm Econsultancy. "We won't know the rev-share terms until Google Editions
launches, but for the sales platform to gain marketshare with authors
and publishers, it will absolutely need to be better than the 70/30 split Amazon currently offers."
- This Sounds Awesome, declares Vlad Savov at Engadget. "Retail pricing won't differ, we're told, from what Amazon and Barnes
& Noble currently charge, which raises the question, what's the
downside to Editions?"
- Well, Maybe This Is a Downside, suggests Rob Pegoraro at The Washington Post: "You do have to trust Google to live up to its terms document's
description of 'perpetual' access to titles for buyers ... Buying books that will
remain on another company's binary bookshelf requires some faith." But, Pegoraro adds, "is that more or less of a stretch than hoping Amazon will ship a
Kindle application for every new mobile device you might use between now
and the end of your life?"
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