May 10 – 16, 2010 Edition Google To Begin Selling Digital Books in June

AUTHORLINK NEWS/May 10, 2010–Google Inc. will begin selling digital books in late June or July, Chris Palma, Google’s manager for strategic-partner development,said in a meeting in New York last week. Google’s entry into the digital book selling arena adds fuel to the battle for the e-book market that that already includes Inc., Apple Inc. and Barnes & Noble Inc.

Google’s long-awaited Google Editions reportedly lets u sers access books from a broad range of websites using an array of devices, while competitors focus on proprietary software and e-book reading devices.

Chris Palma, Google’s manager for strategic-partner development, announced the timetable for Google’s plans on Tuesday at a publishing- industry panel in New York.

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, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Google will sign agreements with publishers to sell books it stores on its servers. The company is still undecided about whether it will follow the so-called "agency model" where publishers set the retail price or whether Google sets the price.

Uers of Google Editions would be able to read books from a web browser—meaning that the type of e-reader device wouldn’t matter. The company also could build software to optimize reading on certain devices like an iPhone or iPad but no specific plans have been announced.

Amazon’s digital book business is largely focused on its Kindle e-reader and Kindle software, but the company has has a few apps available that run on other hardware.

The new Google service will, as Evan Schnittman, vice president of global business development for Oxford University Press., told the Journal: "…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."