Google to Take on Amazon in eBooks



1184809_six_booksGoogle’s been slowly edging its way into the book business for a good long while now. First Google Book Search, then a deal to show books still in copyright—and now they’re getting ready to take on Amazon in the eBook department.

If you’re at all into publishing (totally!), you know that BookExpo America ended yesterday. The book trade fair isn’t just a great place to work on your foreign rights deals—it’s also a good place for hinting at your potentially earth-shattering business moves. Like Google last week, according to the NYT:

In discussions with publishers at the annual BookExpo convention in New York over the weekend, Google signaled its intent to introduce a program by that would enable publishers to sell digital versions of their newest books direct to consumers through Google. The move would pit Google against Amazon.com, which is seeking to control the e-book market with the versions it sells for its Kindle reading device.

Can Google take on the acknowledged leader of online book sales? They’ve got a few things in their favor so far:

  • Google says they’ll let publishers set their own prices (and with Amazon selling <$10 e-versions of $26 hardbacks, publishers are sure to jump at the chance—however, readers may not be quite as happy to comply. Also, Google reserved the right to adjust “exorbitant” prices.).
  • The deal will be completely separate from their Book Search settlement.
  • Google’s already established Book Search Mobile, offering 1.5 million e-texts to the Sony e-Reader, biggest competitor to Amazon’s Kindle—as well as mobile phones. A new deal would make text available to those devices as well as Internet browsers.
  • Google has some experience charging for content—such as paid downloads from Google Video. However, most of these ventures haven’t been viable in the long-term.

What do you think? Are you interested in buying eBooks? Does Google have a shot to take on another Goliath?

  • http://www.itrackmine.com Dean Higginbotham

    There is still something to be said for physical books. So even if Google does win the e-book battle, how big a victory is that (relatively speaking)?

    A couple things remind me that physical is better than digital in this:
    –what do I have to do in the intern to be able to read my digital book ten years from now?
    –unless I spend more money to buy a device, I can’t read in bed, outside, etc..then spend more money to keep my devices up to date too.
    –there’s something to be said about the “cool” factor of having a shelf of books and going to the physical store to feel the heft of the book and enjoy that environment

    I know my techie friends are tired of having to re-buy all their movies every few years. They talk about not looking forward to having to also re-buy their books, or convert them, or whatever.

    imo, digital is great, but more for reference, searching, etc.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Jordan McCollum

    I agree, but that’s kind of neither here nor there. Obviously even if Google does win, Amazon will still dominate physical book sales.

  • http://sayreonline.com Brennan

    Google again tries to spread and it is starting to spread itself too thin in my opinion and also sets itself up for anti-trust lawsuits. I think Amazon will continue to dominate physical book sales which is where most of the market is at right now. The e-book thing has never really caught on to the degree everyone wished and will probably just keep its internet marketing market. I hardly read any e-books but usually purchase a few books a year from Amazon and I think this is about regular with the trend.

  • Pingback: Google: Proprietary system is not the future of e-books

  • http://zemalf.com/ Zemalf

    I think this is great news, the Amazon & Kindle monopoly will do no-one any good. And people are buying and downloading more and more eBooks already, so I see Google seriously taking on with Amazon on the electronic book market.

    It won’t remove the love for printed books thou (not PDFs printed from your printer that is) as reading a “real book” will be around for quite some time. On the other hand, there were people who predicted that no-one will buy books without touching and browsing them, so I guess we’ll have to see how this one goes :)

    Zemalf’s last blog post..The Power of Free Downloadable eBooks