Monday, June 1, 2009

Preparing to Sell E-Books, Google Takes on Amazon; New York Times, 6/1/09

Motoko Rich via New York Times; Preparing to Sell E-Books, Google Takes on Amazon:

"In discussions with publishers at the annual BookExpo convention in New York over the weekend, Google signaled its intent to introduce a program by [sic] that would enable publishers to sell digital versions of their newest books direct to consumers through Google. The move would pit Google against, which is seeking to control the e-book market with the versions it sells for its Kindle reading device.

Google’s move is likely to be welcomed by publishers who have expressed concerns about Amazon’s aggressive pricing strategy for e-books. Amazon offers Kindle editions of most new best sellers for $9.99, far less than the typical $26 at which publishers sell new hardcovers. In early discussions, Google has said it will allow publishers to set consumer prices."...

Google’s e-book retail program would be separate from the company’s settlement with authors and publishers over its book-scanning project, under which Google has scanned more than seven million volumes from several university libraries. A majority of those books are out of print.
The settlement, which is the focus of a Justice Department inquiry about the antitrust implications and is also subject to court review, provides for a way for Google to sell digital access to the scanned volumes.

And Google has already made its 1.5 million public-domain books available for reading on mobile phones as well as the Sony Reader, the Kindle’s largest competitor.

Under the new program, publishers give Google digital files of new and other in-print books. Already on Google, users can search up to about 20 percent of the content of those books and can follow links from Google to online retailers like and the Web site of Barnes & Noble to buy either paper or electronic versions of the books. But Google is now proposing to allow users to buy those digital editions direct from Google."

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