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Google Editions, Google's new digital book sales program, will launch this summer. Google is still fighting in court for the right to offer out-of-print works for free.  (Source: Paper Pills)
Google is ironing out all the fine details of its digital book sales scheme

Google began scanning books and newspapers into its digital archive, Google Books, in 2004.  While the public loved having instant access to classics, out of print titles, and more, publishers weren't so thrilled.  In 2005, the Authors Guild of America and Association of American Publishers brought suit against Google for "massive copyright infringement".

The authors' groups and Google finally made peace after lengthy negotiations.  As part of the agreement that was reached, Google would offer to sell the digital books that it was previewing.

That plan is about to be executed this summer.  Speaking to a publishing industry panel in New York City, Chris Palma, Google's manager for strategic-partner development, announced that Google Editions, it's new sales service, will land in June or July.

Google believes that it can compete with veteran players Amazon and newcomers Apple andBarnes & Noble, thanks to its unique approach.  Unlike its rivals, Google will be offering its service across a variety of sites (with one central store site) and will try to make its digital books available for as many different devices as possible, not just one.

Google is still working out pricing, but the rough plan is that books sold through its central site (stored on its servers) would be sold with a cut going to Google and a bigger cut going to the authors/publishers.  Book sold on other sites using Google Edition technology will feature an even bigger cut for the authors/publishers.  This should help small independent publishers launch their own sales sites.

The books will be able to be viewed in the browser using Google web software.  Details about this are scarce at the moment.  It is unknown, for example, if the software will work with mobile internet devices like the iPad, which don't allow certain web technologies like Flash.

The competition should benefit the industry.  Evan Schnittman, vice president of global business development for Oxford University Press states, "This levels the retail playing field.  And as a publisher, what I like is that I won't have to think about audiences based on devices. This is an electronic product that consumers can get anywhere as long as they have a Google account."

By pushing users away from proprietary platforms, Google believes it can force Amazon, Apple, and others to be more open.

In a separate battle Google is still fighting in court to try to win the right to post out of print books.  Publishers who own the rights to these titles, but refuse to publish them have sued Google.  U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin is expected to rule on the case soon.



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By xthetenth on 5/5/2010 10:07:43 AM , Rating: 4
Really, I don't care which way the case goes as long as out of print books start becoming available. It's ridiculous that even with a format for books which costs nothing to make, that there are a lot of books out of print. I don't even want to think of what great books are out there but aren't in print. Just as an example, if the Naval Research Institute hadn't reprinted Japanese Destroyer Captain, the only first-hand Japanese source on the Pacific Theater I'd ever seen in English wouldn't be available, and it is an excellent book. I just have to wonder what other gems are out there that could be made available to the public for a negligible price.




By Smartless on 5/5/2010 2:27:43 PM , Rating: 2
I wanted to rate you up but realized I also wanted someone to tell me why the publishers who own the copyright won't reprint them? Is it because they don't see it as cost-effective to restart printing without a known demand? Especially after your post about Japanese Destroyer Captain. That and some old accounts of Japanese folklore are tough to get unless you spend almost a $100 on Amazon.


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