More details were recently released regarding Google’s plans for an electronic bookstore that will likely rival competitors like Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble. It’s called “Google Editions,” and it will launch sometime this summer. So why is there so much anticipation revolving around this announcement?
For starters, texts purchased from Google Editions will be readable in a web browser, making them almost universally compatible with eBook readers as well as other web-enabled devices. Books will be stored in a “cloud,” meaning that they can be downloaded to multiple devices at will rather than stored on a single eReader. This feature has the potential to cause a major shake-up in the market.
There is significant debate as to what this will mean for publishers and consumers. Ostensibly Google Editions is likely to offer more choices, better access and perhaps even lower prices. However, this may not necessarily be the case regarding pricing because the market currently functions under the agency model, in which publishers sell their books to distributors and set prices themselves. Google has yet to announce whether or not Google Editions will function under the same model, a decision with the potential to have a major impact on authors and publishers.
What do you think? Are you less likely to purchase an eReader like the Kindle now that Google will be offering a less restrictive format in which to view eBooks? If you publish eBooks, are you more or less likely to distribute them through Google than through a competitor? We’d love to hear your comments!