June 2, 2009

Google To Begin Selling E-Books This Year

Google announced on Monday that it intends to begin selling new e-books online sometime this year, as the Web giant appears to be seeking its share of the market currently dominated by Amazon.

"We've consistently maintained that we're committed to helping our partners find more ways to make their books accessible and available for purchase," Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker said in a statement on Monday.

"By end of this year, we hope to give publisher partners an additional way to sell their books by allowing users to purchase access to Partner Program books online," Stricker said.

"We want to build and support a digital book ecosystem to allow our partner publishers to make their books available for purchase from any Web-enabled device," he added.

According to the New York Times, Google's entry into the e-book market is likely to be applauded by publishers who are concerned about Amazon's dominance in the market, which allows it to negotiate prices to less than half of the price of a traditional hardcover novel.

"Clearly, any major company coming into the e-book space, providing that we are happy with the pricing structure, the selling price and the security of the technology, will be a welcome addition," David Young, chief executive of Hachette Book Group, told the Times.

Also, the Times reported that Google's e-book online store would be a separate venture from its book-scanning project called Google Book Search. The project has led to a class action lawsuit on claims of copyright infringement.

In October, Google settled with authors and publishers, agreeing to establish an independent "Book Rights Registry," which will provide revenue from sales and advertising to authors and publishers who agree to digitize their books.

Google has announced plans to sell e-books before, but Tom Turvey, director of strategic partnerships at Google, told publishers at this year's BookExpo "this time we mean it."


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