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Google Entering E-Book Market

May 5, 2010

Google announced plans to enter the electronic book market on Tuesday, telling various media outlets that they will provide e-books that can be read on any Internet-connected device through a digital book download service that should be launched sometime before August.

The online e-book store, which will be called Google Editions, was announced by Google strategic-partner development manager Chris Palma during an event at the Random House offices in Manhattan, according to the Wall Street Journal. Palma was speaking as part of a Book Industry Study Group (BISG) event entitled “The Book on Google: Is the Future of Publishing in the Cloud?”

“The project is Google’s attempt to crack into the market of distributing current and backlist works,” WSJ.com reporters Jessica E. Vascellaro and Jeffery A. Trachtenberg wrote in a May 4 article.

“Google says 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, taking the bulk of the revenue. Google is still deciding whether it will follow the model where publishers set the retail price or where Google sets retail prices,” they added.

According to the AFP news agency, the e-books sold by Google will be readable on Amazon’s Kindle device and the Apple iPad, and will also support “epub” open standard format, which will make them accessible on just about any e-reader or similar device. In an interview with the AFP, spokesman Gabriel Stricker confirmed that Google Editions would be “device agnostic.”

“Publishers have yet to publicly commit to participate in the service. Yet many continue to cheer the idea as potentially significant new opportunity to increase the sale of digital books, since even the smallest independent bookstore will have access to a sophisticated electronic-book sales service with a vast selection of titles,” Vascellaro and Trachtenberg noted.

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