It’s no secret: Google’s been working toward selling eBooks for over a year (with their intentions public since BEA last May). And now it looks like they’re almost there, according to the Wall Street Journal. The search giant could enter the battle against Amazon, Apple, et al., in late June or July.
Despite rumors to the contrary, Google isn’t looking to fight the Kindle, however (or yet?). Although they partnered with the makers of the COOL-ER e-reader in September, Google plans to offer a bookstore that’s platform-independent, the WSJ reports. But no proprietary devices isn’t the only departure from the Amazon/Kindle model:
Google says users will be able to buy digital copies of books they discover through its book-search service. It will also allow book retailers—even independent shops—to sell Google Editions on their own sites, giving partners the bulk of the revenue.
The company would have copies on its servers for works it strikes agreements to sell. Google is still deciding whether it will follow the model where publishers set the retail price or whether Google sets the price
The browser-based Google Editions, along with Google Books, will provide the storefront and the books. Meanwhile, Google’s book licensing agreement may still be in limbo with the DoJ—and that’s something they definitely need to work out before they can hope to make it big.
Meanwhile, if all goes well for Google Editions, this could mean big news for Google at large. As Evan Schnittman, vice president of global business development for Oxford University Press, told the WSJ:
Google Editions will also be critical because it represents “the ultimate test” of whether the ability to search, find and instantly buy content will generate significant gains in revenue. “This tears down barriers,” he added.
What do you think? Will Google get into retail? Will they be allowed to sell books at all? Will this constitute an eBook revolution?