Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Google Makes Move into eBooks

Google Books Logo

Google just stuck their other foot in the eBook water.  Depending on how they proceed, it could be good or bad for consumers - particularly current eBook consumers.

Google showed their intentions to begin a program enabling book publishers to sell eBook versions of their books directly to eBook readers through google at the annual BookExpo convention this past weekend.

In the "good" category, the addition of Google to eBooks should mean more books available to eBooks.  And it very likely will mean more eBook readers will arrive providing competition on the hardware side of things.  Google plans to allow access to any device with Internet access, including mobile phones and other devices.

The possible "bad" from Google's entry comes mostly from the wider range Google will allow publishers to price their books for.  Amazon locks the initial "best seller" list at a fixed price of $9.99 and Google's pressure very likely could push Amazon to shy away from that policy.  Also, the multiple formats we're likely to see puts the eBook readers in the position of only having access to "Kindle-format" books or "Google-Format" books.  Much like you had with digital music with different drm'd music, the incompatible formats create their own problems.

Bottom line though, it should be a net positive to have a company such as Google get in the game.  More eBooks available in more places should help eBooks hit the mainstream and lower eBook reader prices.  I don't see Google selling their own eBook device, but I guess you never know - how about a version of the Plastic Logic eBook concept?


via NYT