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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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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.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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