Is Google About to Upend the E-Book Market?

By Gary Kim December 01, 2010

Google is in the final stages of launching its long-awaited e-book retailing venture, Google Editions, the Wall Street Journal reports. And the way Google is approaching the market could upset "dedicated reader" strategies used by some other providers, including Amazon.com. 

The U.S. launch is expected sometime before 2011, and Google is using an "open" approach where 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.

Though one can argue the point, since Kindle content already can be viewed on smartphones, PCs, netbooks, notebooks and dedicated Kindle readers, Google's approach aims to sever the relationship between content and appliance, and content and source. 

Kindle device owners can purchase books only from an Amazon store, although they can read them on dozens of different devices that run Kindle software and can access free books from other sources. Google wants to make access available from hundreds of different retailers. 

Google says it wants to enable all Internet users, not just those with tablets, through the key issue is more nearly freedom to buy content from many venues, as display methods, even for Kindle content, already are device independent.

"Google is going to turn every Internet space that talks about a book into a place where you can buy that book," says Dominique Raccah, publisher and owner of Sourcebooks Inc., an independent publisher based in Naperville, Ill. "The Google model is going to drive a lot of sales."


Gary Kim is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

Contributing Editor

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