Google to Launch e-Book Store Next Month
Google plans to make a more aggressive move into the e-book market this summer, with newly announced plans to open a full e-book store within the next two or three months.
Google has long offered digital editions of books, especially those out of print or out of copyright, but the company is making a more concerted effort to sell contemporary e-books. So far, Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble have been fighting over the budding e-book industry with their Kindle, iPad and Nook e-book readers, respectively. Their rivalries have even caused major pricing fluctuations for publishers . Now Google is joining the fray and could possibly upset things even more.
The Wall Street Journal reports the plan was announced by Chris Palma, Google's manager for strategic-partner development, at a Book Industry Study Group event entitled "The Book on Google: Is the Future of Publishing in the Cloud?"
While Google does not have a specific e-book reading device like the other major players in the industry, Google has a much broader plan that circumvents the need for a device. The service, called Google Editions, will allow users to access the store from retail sites and read their e-books on multiple platforms and devices.
Google Editions has been reported to have 400,000 to 600,000 titles available, which would immediately challenge the inventory of the largest e-book retailers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And book retailers will be able to sell Google Editions e-books through their own sites, further increasing the reach of Google's e-book store.
"This levels the retail playing field ," Evan Schnittman, vice president of global business development for Oxford University Press, told the Wall Street Journal. "And as a publisher, what I like is that I won't have to think about audiences based on devices. This is an electronic product that consumers can get anywhere as long as they have a Google account."
The announced release date is also surprising because no publishers have formally agreed to participate in Google's service yet. Google has faced steep opposition from authors and publishers alike, and it's not clear how it will affect Google Editions or the selection in Google's store.