Google expects to open it’s e-book store, Google Editions, by the end of the month. Google is a latecomer to the burgeoning e-book retail market, but hopes it offers a distinct advantage. Namely, the ability to read content on any device that accessess the Internet, not just brand-specific devices like the Kindle, and not just mobile devices. Add on the ability to incorporate links to instantly buy books from any device and experts think Google could grab 20% of the e-book market very quickly.
The biggest obstacle Google has been facing is money. Publishers have been reluctant to turn over distribution and price controls without assurances that they will determine price points and receive the lionshare of the profits. And with e-book sales tripling from $301 million in 2009, to nearly $1 billion this year, there’s plenty to fight over. Google recently reached an agreement with French publishing house Hachette Livre, which was expected to open more doors in Europe.
Of the estimated 150 million books in the world Google hopes to scan, they have completed about 10%.
Want to see what a Google book may look like? Check out “20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web” by the Google Chrome Team. You may need to update your browser, or add the Google Chrome Frame plug-in. The book was designed for Apple-friendly HTML-5 browsers.