Google becomes book seller in July
Google will begin selling eBooks in July, as the search giant takes on rivals including Amazon and Apple.
Dubbed Google Editions, the store will initially offer around half-a-million in-print books at prices set by the publishers.
When the service was first announced back in 2009 Google said that it aimed to offer 600,000 books by the end of the year and will take 37% of the revenues generated, with the remaining 63% going to publishers.
In an attempt to differentiate the service from those offered by rivals, Google will allow competitors – including Amazon and Apple – to offer their own catalogues through the service. In this case publishers will receive 45% of the revenues, with the majority of the remaining 55% returning to the original retailer.
Google will also allow users to embed a sales widget on their site, potentially allowing authors to sell their own books directly, meaning the customer need never see the Google Editions store.
Also interesting is Google’s claim that the store will be device agnostic, with users able to read books from any device with a web browser. We’ve contacted the company for clarification on this point.
Google Editions is a separate offering to the Google Books Project, which is currently being investigated by US regulators. The Book project will create a massive repository of out-of-copyright books, where authors and publishers can register works and receive a portion of the revenues earned from ads, subscriptions and sales.
It’s likely that should this deal clear its regulatory hurdles, these works would also be offered through Google Editions.