back to article Google to be bookseller by summer

Google has confirmed it will enter the retail digital book business, with the launch of an online store called Google Editions by July. Google Editions will also be available as a B2B service, allowing third-party retailers to sell eBooks on their own websites. There's no word yet of any deals, and a company spokesman didn't …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    from the US Government?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    where will it make its money?

    Where it always does. Ad Ver Ti Sing.

  3. Phil Wray

    Making money

    they will of course be putting ads into the books

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder...

    ...if this is somehow connected to the scanning project? Scan, print, sell. Nice scam if it is so.

    But a least the fireworks are going to be impressive when the monopoly authorities get their collective heads out of Google's ass and start hammering them. If ever...

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      Where's the injunction?

      The bulk of the titles are rumored to be those of 'out of print' books that they did scan.

      One would at least expect the US DoJ to get an injunction until the copyright infringement case is settled.

      Total fail on the part of US DoJ, Google and any freeloader who doesn't want to properly compensate authors for their works.

  5. Rob Farnell
    Thumb Up

    Google is desperate to open the data for digitilised books

    If Google plays to its strength, it will concentrate on the search element and make everything else a loss-leader.

    Maggie Sheils article on the BBC website lead me to believe the following:

    You search for "I wandered lonely as a cloud" and I imagine you will start to see commission based links appearing to its partners to purchase the e-books.

    I can also imagine like gmail does, that adverts will surround the book/page you are looking at.

    From a purely academic perspective, E-books will never fully kick off until citation can become consistent i.e. referring to the correct page of a published edition of a book. Nonetheless, this is a good step forward.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      You act as if this is a good thing...

      This isn't a Library of Congress opening up access to knowledge, but a private company trampling on the rights of many all in the name of the almighty dollar.

      Google has gone under the radar and has private access to the White House. They can spin this as a good thing, even when its not.

      This is yet another step in their quest for domination.

      Not good. If you can't see this, then you're either a complete moron, or a failed product of a public education.

    2. Fremma

      @ Rob Farnell

      "From a purely academic perspective, E-Books will never fully kick off until citation can become consistent i.e. referring to the correct page of a published edition of a book. Nonetheless, this is a good step forward."

      From a purely non-academic perspective, E-Pub format e-books will never fully kick off until they drop the stupid insistence to number the pages as if it was a paper book (so you get three page 21s followed by a page 21-22). The ability to change font size is one of the best things about e-readers; page numbers should adjust accordingly. Nonetheless, and here I agree with you entirely, Rob, this is a good step forward.

  6. PeterMSmith

    Isn't it obvious?

    Presumably, the books are going to be bought but then kept in the cloud (much like Amazon's Kindle offering - the books can be deleted off the device at any point but they're available from the Amazon site for re-downloading.

    It wouldn't make sense for Google to pursue a strategy of putting everything in the cloud (see Chromium) but then pursue downloading books onto peoples' hard drives (to do so would be presumably short-sighted). Books are small enough to be cached to their new Chromium devices for off-line reading, so it makes an ideal first step for them

    Ultimately, they'll provide your personal bookstore using your google account. Anyone who's buying a book from the Google store for the first time will be required to set up an account with google, meaning they then have more detailed information about you than they previously did. Information is power. The other thing is that they may be providing a subscription based model - how about paying £10 a month to read as many books as you like? Works with Spotify...

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Flogging the "orphaned" works of course.

    Now you see what the book scanning was really about.

    Next for sale, streetview data.

    Evil Google Icon please.

  8. Daniel 1

    Publishing margins aren't that big

    I'm not sure if the margins ever were, in fact, but Amazon's influence on the books market has ensured that the only way to survive in publishing, is by throughput. Amazon's brutal policy of simply returning copy that it didn't sell, meant that it could offload most of the risk and expense of print-runs back onto the publishers, while harvesting the profits of that throughput, for itself.

    Now, this has meant that the book market has actually become much more diverse and interesting, than it ever was before - but it also means that book publishers have to work much harder, and take much bigger risks, to maintain the same, traditionally slim, margins.

    With the Kindle, Amazon's business model was beginning to look positively evil. With no physical product to store, a monopoly-Amazon could dominate the market, simply by being able to hold each publiser to ransom, by threatening them with a:

    'DELETE FROM inventory WHERE stock_id=' . $ASIN.

    Their only expense was to maintain the database, and customers would pay to download content from it - at their own expense, onto a crappy, dedicated, locked-down electronic device, that Amazon had sold to them in the first place, and which Amazon still controlled.

    But this is the greed of the Little Men: a greed that has to explain its evil plan, in great detail, to show how clever it has been.

    Google's evil plan is so vast and devious, its hard to tell if it is actually evil. It will offer a business that frees the content from any device or medium, so that the Kindles will consigned to the back of the 'Cupboard of Redundant Thinking', alongside the LED calculators, Microcassette tapes, and daisywheel printer heads (still in their original packaging).

    This is because Google's business model does not involve selling content - indeed it's predicated upon the idea of as much of the world's content being freely available and unlocked, as possible. The Google business model is based around knowing what content its users are interested in. (They don't want to own the books: they want to own the fact that you are interested in the books, because that fact is potentially much more valuable.)

    Amazon does this, already, of course, but it hasn't the sort of scale that Google can dream of. Amazon is still a website - that you have to go to - whereas Google is slowly becoming the entire Web.

    A very big river can shift a lot of water in a very visible way, but an ocean current dosn't have to move its water very fast, at all, to generate much more actual throughput.

  9. Grozbat
    Thumb Up


    Google's ebook store may not make any money but it will make Android phones more attractive. More Android users means more Google search users which means more ad revenue for Google, as any fule kno.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Yes, but

      Since Editions will be accessible on every device, that cancels out any advantage Android may have.

  10. David Kesterson

    let them at each other

    More e-books, drive down the margins - but remember, a real book is better and always will be

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