Google Editions E-Book Store Launching This Summer
In addition to offering rare, out-of-print books (an advantage for Google that also helps publishers and authors), Google Editions will boast a flexibility that other outlets lack. Partners will be able to embed the store in other websites, allowing, for example, authors to sell e-books directly from their sites without redirecting customers to a Google page. Purchased content will be available in a format that can be read by almost any e-book reader (save the Kindle, we presume), as well as be available in a Web browser.
We presume that part of the delay in launching Google Editions has been the hope that the company could launch the store, complete with out-of-print offerings, all at once. Unfortunately, everyone from the U.S. Department of Justice to European trade groups, from Yahoo! to Microsoft, take issue with the terms of the $125 million settlement, which would allow Google to sell out-of-print books and leave most of the selling price to the discretion of the authors. Rather than let potential competitors enjoy even more of a head start, Google seems to have decided to just launch the marketplace, and worry about expanding it down the road.
Whether or not Google can compete in the e-book market remains to be seen, but a well-designed Android app for the service could go a long way towards ensuring at least some success. [From: Wall Street Journal, via: Ars Technica]