Google to Open Bookshop

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Google has announced plans to launch a digital bookshop that would see users downloading ebooks as “Google Editions” to a multitude of different devices.

google-books-logo

The ongoing kafuffle about Google Books and whether or not it should be possible for one company to own the rights to publish so-called “orphaned books” (books for whom the rights holder cannot be contacted to secure permission to publish) is cast in a new light with the announcement that Google wants to move into the ebook business in a big way. Bizarrely, because Google has stated that it wants its service to be browser accessible, this plays to Microsoft’s ebook strategy.

Last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted that the company was not developing an ebook reader, stating instead that Microsoft already supports the most widespread ebook reader in the world in the form of the PC. While we initially scoffed at the idea of reading books on a notebook or desktop, it seems that Google might well be getting behind Ballmer’s books-on-PC attitude.

It’ll be interesting to see how Amazon responds to Google launching its own ebook service, especially considering the fact that Google is already powering sales of Sony’s Reader by offering more than a million public domain books for free on the device, to say nothing of the books available for purchase.

Interestingly enough, TGDaily is reporting that Google Books’ Tom Turvey said of the ebook operation, “Google Editions allows retail partners to sell their books, especially those who haven’t invested in a digital platform. We expect the majority will go to retail partners, not to Google. We are a wholesaler, a book distributor.

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