Monday, June 01, 2009

Preparing To Sell E-Books, Google Takes On Amazon

And so the evolution of the market continues. Check out this New York Times article: Preparing To Sell E-Books, Google Takes On Amazon. An excerpt:

In discussions with publishers at the annual BookExpo convention in New York over the weekend, Google signaled its intent to introduce a program by that would enable publishers to sell digital versions of their newest books direct to consumers through Google. The move would pit Google against Amazon.com, 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.

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 Amazon.com 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.

Mr. Turvey said that with books, Google planned to sell readers online access to digital versions of various titles. When offline, Mr. Turvey said, readers would still be able to access their electronic books in cached versions on their browsers.

So, one may not necessarily need a Kindle? Maybe Apple will make an e-book reader, the way they made the iPod and took over the mp3 player market? Or maybe there'll be so many types of e-readers out there for us to choose from, the same way that there are so many types of mp3 players?

The times, they are a-changin'.

Will print books disappear? Maybe not immediately. After all, music CD's are still around, though their sales are diminishing vis-a-vis the sales of online music files. And vinyl is making a comeback and finding its own small niche.

But the ways we read our books, they are a-changin'.

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