Google enters digital book war

Set to launch e-book store in 2010. Google Editions books will not be tied to a specific device, unlike rival e-book company Amazon.

Google is set to launch its own online e-book store in 2010.

Google Editions books will not be tied to a specific device, unlike rival e-book company Amazon.

The Amazon Kindle is linked to books from the company's own store and similarly with Apple's iBookstore.

“It is a different approach to what most readers today have and the vision is to be able to access books in a device agnostic way,'' said Google .

To date, Google has scanned over 12 million books, both in-print and out-of-print, giving it a greater selection of material than either Apple or Amazon.

Analysts at the Yankee Group have predicted that the U.S. e-book reader market is “about to catch fire sparking from $1.3 billion in revenue in 2010 to $2.5 billion by 2013''.

Now other industry watchers have said Google Editions will boost those figures further still. “Anything that puts more kinds of art in people's hands in a way that fosters competition, innovation and creativity is good,'' said an analyst.

With books accessed through Google Editions readable on any web enabled device from a mobile phone to a netbook and from a tablet to a desktop, the implications are clear for e-book stores tied to a single device.

In particular researchers point to trouble ahead for Amazon which, despite not releasing any specific figures, has been the leader in the market.

Earlier this year the e-tailer said throughout 2009, the Kindle was the most popular present in Amazon's history and that it had sold more e-books than physical books on Christmas day. Ahead of Apple's iPad coming on the block analysts predicted pain for Amazon.

“We're quite comfortable having a diverse range of physical retailers, whereas most of the other players would like to have a less competitive space, because they'd like to dominate,'' said a Google official.

Google confirmed to the BBC that Google Editions would not be affected by the firm's present legal troubles over trying to digitise millions of out-of-print books.

“Plans for Google Editions will happen independent of whatever the settlement agreement is,'' said a Google's official.

Digital library

The search giant's efforts to create the world's biggest digital library have been mired in legal action for the last couple of years.

Critics have long claimed Google's deal with U.S. publishers and authors would give them a monopoly over online book sales.

Google said it would make “millions of books searchable via the web''

A ruling on the issue is due soon. — © BBC News/Distributed by the New York Times Syndicate

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 8:19:02 AM |

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