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Google Editions Coming Everywhere Early 2011

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Whether or not Google ever get into the e-book reader/tablet market is still open to speculation. However, by the end of the year, it will be a major player in the e-bookstore space with hundreds of thousands of e-books for sale and millions more available for free.

Google Editions - an online book store counterpart to free Google Books project – was initially slated for a June/July launch but due to legal issues with independent booksellers and publishing houses it was delayed. It is set to debut in the US by the end of the year and internationally in the first quarter of next year, a Google product management director, Scott Dougall told the Wall Street Journal.

Google Editions' titles will be sold in an open format to smartphones, tablets and dedicated eBook readers. It will be a web-centric system with independent retailers and book review sites being encouraged to link their sites to Google Editions. Users will be able to download books directly from a browser and add their books to an online library tied to a Google account. This is a major step away from the proprietary hardware and software model championed by Amazon, Sony and others.

Given this is Google, there are no half measures with between 400,000 and 600,000 titles expected to be ready at launch. One of the questions which remains however is what percentage of revenue Google will share with independent bookstores and other retailers? With digital book sales heading toward $1bn-a-year this amount won’t be an insignificant sum.

"It will be a browser-based access," said Tom Turvey, head of Google Book Search's publisher partnership program, at the time of launch. "The way the ebook market will evolve is by accessing the book from anywhere, from an access point of view and also from a geographical point of view. Google Editions allows retail partners to sell their books, especially those who haven't invested in a digital platform. We expect the majority {of customers} will go to retail partners not to Google. We are a wholesaler, a book distributor."

Via Wall Street Journal

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