Google’s been saying they’re entering the eBook arena since June. While their Google Books offerings were clearly part of the plan, it hasn’t always been clear exactly what, if anything, they were planning to do for hardware. Well, it looks like they’ve made up their mind (at this point): they’re going ahead with offering eBooks to any reader with a web browser.
In the first half of next year, Google plans to launch Google Editions, offering its library of about half a million books (including those that are out of print, out of copyright or with whose publishers have an agreement). Google will host the books and make them searchable.
Google’s director of strategic partnerships, Tom Turvey, said “We’re not focused on a dedicated e-reader or device of any kind.” By selling the books, however, Google will make its first non-affiliate money off its Books initiatives:
Google will share revenue with publishers, and also with online retailers in cases where readers buy Google-hosted books through a retailer’s site. . . .
Turvey said Google would give publishers 63 percent of revenues and keep 37 percent for itself where it sold e-books directly to consumers.
In cases where e-books were bought through other online retailers, publishers would get 45 percent and most of the remaining 55 percent would go to the retailer, with a small share for Google, he said.
The reader doesn’t have to be connected to the Internet to read the book; once it’s been purchased, the book is loaded on the device for portable access.
What do you think? Should Amazon be shaking in its boots?