Google plans on opening Google Edition, its own eBook store to compete with Apple and Amazon, this month, according to an unnamed media source. The Wall Street Journal has the story:
The long-delayed venture—Google executives had said they hoped to launch this summer—recently has cleared several technical and legal hurdles, people close to the company say. It is set to debut in the U.S. by the end of the year and internationally in the first quarter of next year, said Scott Dougall, a Google product management director.
In recent weeks, independent booksellers, which are expected to play a big role in Google Editions, began receiving contracts from their trade group. Several publishers said they were exchanging files with Google—a sign that it is close to launch, publishers say.
Google Editions hopes to upend the existing e-book market by offering an open, “read anywhere” model that is different from many competitors. Users will be able to buy books directly from Google or from multiple online retailers—including independent bookstores—and add them to an online library tied to a Google account. They will be able to access their Google accounts on most devices with a Web browser, including personal computers, smartphones and tablets.
Digital book sales are expected to more than triple to $966 million this year, according to Forrester Research, from $301 million in 2009.
The big potential I see with Google Edition is its revenue-sharing model. More authors will jump on board if Google makes that more generous than competitors. It would also help if Google’s reader wasn’t tied to Internet connectivity, so that users could read book anywhere. As with other Google products that sound juicy at inception, we’re going to have to wait and see how Google Edition plays out. There’s no guarantee of superiority, or even success.