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Google to launch paid, universal e-book store

updated 09:55 am EDT, Thu October 15, 2009

Google e-book store due next year

Google today set out official plans to launch its own paid e-book store. Known as Google Editions, the service will be one of the few truly universal stores and will work with any device that has a reasonably modern web browser, including most computers, smartphones and even normally locked-down devices like the Amazon Kindle. Unlike some web book services, Google's store will let users cache a book locally for reading when they're offline.

The initial catalog will have between 400,000 and 600,000 books, some of which are expected to come from Google's controversial online rights registry, which handles out-of-print titles or those whose authors are difficult or impossible to track. Critics have attacked the deal for allegedly giving too much control to Google over the fate of books and for letting it dictate pricing. Google has responded by arguing that many of these rare books would otherwise be permanently lost and that authors who make contact can change the terms of royalties.

The service will run on Google Checkout to handle purchases and should give the majority of revenue to publishers, with some revenue left for itself. The revenue split and typical book prices aren't yet available.

A formal launch isn't due until the first half of 2010.

A move of the sort is critical for Google, which already has downloadable books but has so far limited them to free, public domain titles and classic magazines. It already has deals with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony and other companies to offer the free books through their proprietary stores.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Hurley42

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2008


    Just waiting for an Apple Tablet

    Books through Google (without Amazon's proprietary restrictions) and an Apple Tablet sounds like a gift to myself next year....

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    Effing critics attacking the deal...

    Exactly who is supposed to have control over this sort of material? Somebody has to step up to get it done instead of just having the books sitting in some dusty library building up mold and deteriorating. Someone is always worried about who gets control and makes the money. Supposedly, Google has TOO much control over books. And Apple has TOO much control over music. What exactly is too much and I don't see how users are getting gouged. I don't see anyone complaining that Microsoft has TOO much control over desktop computers.

    Someone has to take control if a market is stagnating and useful material is difficult to otherwise get hold of. Get every piece of written paper into electronic form and make it available to anyone with any type of eReader. Companies ought to get a medal for organizing electronic publications. Should there be a some sort of committee for the organization and pricing of electronic publications?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: waiting on apple tablet

    Books through Google (without Amazon's proprietary restrictions)

    Right. Now you've got Google's proprietary restrictions. They're just not as restrictive.

    And you assume Apple will allow their tablet to work with Google books.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Effing critics

    And I'm sure you would be 100% behind the deal if it were Microsoft given the electronic rights to publish those books.

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