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Google Enters Online Book War

12 May 2010 - 12:06 by Simon Crisp

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There has for some time been something of a war between the technology brand Apple and online retailer, Amazon. Both have been competing for a share of the lucrative digital book market, with Apple selling digital books to consumers via its iBookStore-including some 1.5 million titles in the first month alone-whilst Amazon offers the Kindle e-reader. Both brands have had their respective e-reader devices tied into their online stores, with consumers safe shopping online for digital books for these devices forced to use the requisite brand's site.

But now internet search giant Google has entered the fray, announcing plans to launch its own digital bookstore, thus offering a greater degree of choice for those who enjoy safe shopping online for books. The Google bookstore will be called Google Editions and is set to open by this summer, or at the latest over the course of the year, according to Google executives. The Editions store will be integrated into existing Google services.

One notable highlight of the proposed bookstore will be that it will potentially allow publishers to sell digital books for use with any web enabled device, with Google's servers hosting each title. This suggests that consumers will be able to download books for use with netbooks, e-readers and tablets as well as smartphones and even ordinary laptops and desktops.

Although no publishers are officially signed as yet, considerable interest from the publishing community is anticipated, with Google said to be involved in detailed talks with many of the major names in the publishing sector. Publishers should also be able to sell each book through their own sites, too, the idea being that Google Editions will make books far more accessible to consumers online. With Google Editions only accepting titles submitted by publishers, it is expected that the new store will avoid any issues surrounding scanned-in titles.