Google enters digital book store war

May 4, 2010: 2:51 PM ET

Google will launch a digital book store as early as next month that takes on Amazon,  Apple  and Barnes & Noble with Google 'Editions'.

Chris Palma,  manager for strategic-partner development at Google, announced the new service at  Random House's Manhattan offices at an event sponsored by the Book Industry Study Group.  The title of his presentation was called "The Book on Google: Is the Future of Publishing in the Cloud?"

Google's vision of a digital book store varies from Apple's iBookStore (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN) and Barnes and Noble's (BKS) models in a number of ways.  Google (GOOG) wants anyone to be able to sell their books through the Google service on as many devices as possible.   Apple, for instance, only wants to sell books on its own iProducts.

Google will also be able to focus on the long tail as it has relationships with tens of thousands of smaller publishers through its Google Books service -- which it will strategically use as an entry point to the Editions store.

Also, Google will use links from its dominant search results to relevant Editions which should drive massive amounts of traffic.  The WSJ says that there will be Google Books App for various platforms but I imagine that Google will also allow you to read a book from within a browser page.  Perhaps they'll even save the spot where you left off as you jump across platforms.

Google will also allow independent resellers to sell Editions on their own site and take home a bulk of the profits.  This may work like Amazon Affiliates, except Amazon only offers independent publishers around 4-8% of the sale price.  Specific pricing and terms weren't yet made available.

Google can also generate revenue by distributing out-of-print works pending the digital book settlement with authors and publishers. The U.S. District Court will rule on that case soon.

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Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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