Print 11 comment(s) - last by Reclaimer77.. on May 6 at 7:35 PM

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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I would like to care....
By Reclaimer77 on 5/5/2010 3:01:32 PM , Rating: 4
But I just can't, for some reason, get excited about E-book readers. And I'm a huge techno nut.

I think the biggest problem is the upfront cost. You can buy a LOT of books for $400, especially at the corner used bookstore where I frequent. Then once you buy the reader, you still have to purchase the E-books separately !? Umm ok. Where does the savings come in again?

Convenience? Maybe. But the reader itself is about as portable as a paperback anyway. Sure, they can HOLD a lot of books. But who reads more than one book at a time anyway??

Also this isn't like someone with a huge record collection bitching about MP3 players. At least you CAN convert vinyl or tapes to MP3's. But can I convert my existing book collection so I can read it on my Kindle or whatever? Nope.

I just don't get it. Before you have read a single book you are out 400-500 bucks. And they are slightly more convenient than an 'analog' book. E-readers add nothing dynamic to the reading format at all, while managing to be several times more expensive and only slightly more practical.

Am I getting to the "crazy old" phase in my life or is anyone else that loves to read simply not blown away by these?? Help!

RE: I would like to care....
By HighWing on 5/5/2010 3:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you on the cost-to-savings area. As much as I love gadgets and would want one, I just can't seem to justify spending hundreds of $$ for a device that is basically useless until I spend more money to buy e-books for it. On top of that the market for the readers is still constantly changing that once you've spent the large $$$ on a reader and several books, a new better version of the reader comes out with more features for roughly the same price you already spent for your now out of date reader!

To be completely honest the only appeal of them I see is the convince of being able to carry several books at once, and not have to go to a book store to buy new books.

But who reads more than one book at a time anyway??

*raises hand* I'm currently reading 5 books at the moment. I like to switch around and read different ones depending on my mood. And I know a lot of other people who do that as well. And in the area of digital bookmarks on e-books, I can defiantly see a convince as I am often losing book marks and having to find my place again. But still not enough to convince me to pay $$$ for an e-reader. But to each his own!

RE: I would like to care....
By Rugar on 5/5/2010 4:41:50 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I go through a lot of paperbacks and I also am known to frequent the used bookstores. The major incentive for me to get a Nook was that our regional library offers a pretty decent selection of e-books on their web page. Add to that the growing collection of free ebooks available on the web and I can essentially read hundreds of books for free with the ultimate in internet convenience now that the initial investment is done.

RE: I would like to care....
By hydrata on 5/5/2010 5:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
For the most part I agree with you. It is a large investment.
I'm not too familiar with these gadgets, but I am about to enroll in graduate school and if I was able to have my textbooks and supplemental pdfs on these devices where I could bookmark pages, take notes, and highlight, I would consider that VERY convenient and beneficial.
My back, alone, would appreciate not carrying 4-5 individual textbooks.
Yet due to the price and changing products, I'm witholding.
Guess the workout from lugging textbooks will be good for a workout.

RE: I would like to care....
By lecanard on 5/5/2010 8:04:14 PM , Rating: 2
But who reads more than one book at a time anyway??

Lots of people read 2-3 books at once (I assume I am not the only one). Readers who go on vacation and don't want to load their luggage with the 5-6 books on their list of things to read want the kindle. And what paperback lets you get the next book in the series within a couple minutes of finishing the previous book, while you are not near any bookstores? And one of the best things is that the pages are all in the same place so you don't have to shift position or hold your arm weird when reading in bed like you do with real books that have two sides of the book. Also, this way even huge books feel like small paperbacks. E-readers are way more practical than paper books for avid readers. However, just as I wouldn't recommend an iPod to someone who rarely listens to music or audiobooks, I wouldn't recommend an e-reader to those who don't read many books. The attraction of getting a Kindle is more based on your reading habits than your love of technology.

As for cost-effectiveness, the Kindle is much more expensive than it looks since it makes buying books so quick and easy that you end up buying a lot more. So I haven't saved any money with the Kindle, but I have read a ton of books. On the other hand, I have one friend who only reads classics so he would save money in the long run (after ~26 books) since those are free.

It is a shame that you can't rip physical books onto a kindle. Going forward, it might be nice if they offered a physical/electronic bundle package where you get both versions for the price of the physical book or something like that.

RE: I would like to care....
By DrApop on 5/5/2010 10:27:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think your argument for not purchasing an eReader are weak (that the up front coast is too high). They are currently in the $250 or less range for a good eReader.

Plus if people thought the way you did in the 1980's we would still be using ledger books and typewriter and filing cabinet. My first computer....286 10 Mhz, 10 MB hard disk, and dos cost almost $2K. Then you had to (and still do) shell out major bucks for wordperfet and dbase and lotus.

The same argument can be made for a cell phone....most people spend the majority of their time at home or work where you already have a land-line phone and internet. Now on top of those costs you are paying $80-100/mo with phone and internet over and above your home phon (if you still use one) and home internet.

But to each their own. I find an eReader much more convenient and reading paper books (novels/pleasure books) excluding work related documentation. Plus direct connectivity to an online bookstore is a huge plus, as well as sample chapters.

RE: I would like to care....
By Reclaimer77 on 5/6/2010 7:35:50 PM , Rating: 2
Plus if people thought the way you did in the 1980's we would still be using ledger books and typewriter and filing cabinet. My first computer....286 10 Mhz, 10 MB hard disk, and dos cost almost $2K. Then you had to (and still do) shell out major bucks for wordperfet and dbase and lotus.

You know what, screw you. I just KNEW some idiot was going to regurgitate this argument.

You cannot compare the massive explosion of convenience and innovation the modern PC brought to our lives to e-readers. Give me a break !

RE: I would like to care....
By beerhound on 5/6/2010 8:25:25 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sold on the idea of a dedicated ebook reader for myself either. I have nothing against the ebook formats themselves, I just don't see spending that money on a single purpose device. Some of the new android based tablets that are in development might be worthwhile because of all the devices they could replace. Notion Ink's Adam tablet in particular, looks interesting. The screen has dual modes that can handle full color HD video on one hand and switch to an ereader mode on the other. They claim a battery life of ~16 hours in normal mode and ~160 hour as an ereader. It still might not be enough for me, but I know who would love to have his hands on one. My best friend is active duty military and currently deployed in Baghdad. He took 15 books with him and finished all of those just 5 weeks into a 6 month tour. The ability to take hundreds of books, buy more off the internet, d/l music, play movies and chat with his family via WiFi or GSM cell connnections from a single device is EXACTLY the kind of thing he is looking for.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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