Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 6:30 AM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Google readies Google Editions e-book store

By Rob Pegoraro

Google is ready to crack the cover of its electronic bookstore. As the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, it plans to open its Google Editions site by the end of this month.

This will be an outgrowth of its Google Books project, which allows visitors to browse and preview titles. But where the Mountain View, Calif., firm's existing service points would-be buyers to such stores as Amazon, Google Editions will allow them to buy and read an e-book without leaving that site. They'll also be able to download copies to computers and unspecified e-reader devices for offline reading.

A "Getting started with Google Editions" page on Google's site explains how this will work for publishers. They'll be able to set a price no higher than the lowest list price for a physical copy of a title (Google's default is 80 percent), opt to offer a discounted bundle of paper and electronic versions and choose whether to impose Adobe-provided "digital rights management" controls on downloaded e-books.

Mass-market e-book stores such as Amazon's Kindle Store have made DRM the default, at least for major publishers. It would be a welcome shift if Google let any author or publisher easily decline DRM upfront.

A separate terms and conditions document spells out more details: Google will pay publishers 52 percent of the revenue from titles it sells and 45 percent of the proceeds from those sold by resellers. Those splits fall well below those of such e-book competitors as Amazon and Apple, each of which offer publishers 70 percent.

google_20_things.png

That document bears a June 2010 stamp, but a version signed by a publisher in September includes the same provisions.

What would a Google Edition look like to a reader? A new Google site called "20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web" shows what's possible. That production marshals advanced HTML5 Web standards to recreate a book's looks, down to specific fonts and pages that curl as you turn them with the cursor. But it also allows you to copy text and share links via Twitter and Facebook. It will save your place if you leave the site; if you disconnect from the Internet halfway through, you can keep reading offline.

Google provided another look at its ideas for Web publishing during its I/O developer conference in May, when Sports Illustrated showed off an interactive Web edition of its magazine built entirely in HTML5.

Google spokeswoman Jeannie Hornung confirmed in an e-mail tha "we plan to launch Google Editions later this year" but said the 20 Things site was not meant to demonstrate the new service. She did not provide other details.

All these details point to a different concept of e-book publishing than what we've seen so far. Where companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble have focused on picking a specific book format and then shipping a variety of software and hardware to read it, Google sees the Web as its primary format. Digital downloads merely permit buyers of a Google Edition to read their purchases on devices without Internet access.

You do have to trust Google to live up to its terms document's description of "perpetual" access to titles for buyers. (That sentence also mentions that Google can help users share annotations of books, which would be a handy feature for students). Buying books that will remain on another company's binary bookshelf requires some faith.

But is that more or less of a stretch than hoping Amazon will ship a Kindle application for every new mobile device you might use between now and the end of your life?

By Rob Pegoraro  | December 1, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  DRM, E-books  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Samsung Galaxy Tab: review, with video
Next: Verizon Wireless announces LTE 4G plans

Comments

If it encourages people to read it can't be bad. I know that I now read much more since I purchased a Kindle. I don't really believe that teenagers will be able to tear themselves away from TV and their phones however they might get text books at a more reasonable price. Charles Dickens' and many other great writers' books are free - what a deal! Some books only cost $2 or so and even $6-$9 is very reasonable. Fills in time when sitting in doctor's offices and during halftime at basketball or any time in a baseball game.

Posted by: pughimag | December 1, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

I agree with pughimag. Something about the Kindle makes me read a lot more. Maybe it's that you have a library of 3500 books in a five ounce device. Or that you can so easily search any text in a book (makes remembering characters in a novel so much easier), or that you can instantly download almost any author's work that's referenced in whatever you're currently reading (I love that!), or that you have a built-in dictionary that lets you get a definition without leaving the page you're on. And the text display is so crisp, even more clear than ink on a page. And of course the font size is adjustable to your preference.
Almost all classics can be downloaded for free. And copyrighted books are cheaper than their print editions.
I also like the lower "barrier to entry" of getting a book. You can download whatever book you want as you hear about it from friends or TV interviews, etc.
Finally, I love that the Kindle in its current incarnation is just a simple reader and is focused on that one thing. No other significant apps or features to distract you. Sure, there are peripheral things like games and primitive Web browser but I don't find myself using them.
I know all this sounds like an ad from Amazon but it's not. I'm just a very enthusiastic Kindle user. It's simple, efficient, addictive, and very cost effective.

Posted by: Latnikaf | December 1, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I agree with pughimag. Something about the Kindle makes me read a lot more. Maybe it's that you have a library of 3500 books in a five ounce device. Or that you can so easily search any text in a book (makes remembering characters in a novel so much easier), or that you can instantly download almost any author's work that's referenced in whatever you're currently reading (I love that!), or that you have a built-in dictionary that lets you get a definition without leaving the page you're on. And the text display is so crisp, even more clear than ink on a page. And of course the font size is adjustable to your preference.
Almost all classics can be downloaded for free. And copyrighted books are cheaper than their print editions.
I also like the lower "barrier to entry" of getting a book. You can download whatever book you want as you hear about it from friends or TV interviews, etc.
Finally, I love that the Kindle in its current incarnation is just a simple reader and is focused on that one thing. No other significant apps or features to distract you. Sure, there are peripheral things like games and primitive Web browser but I don't find myself using them.
I know all this sounds like an ad from Amazon but it's not. I'm just a very enthusiastic Kindle user. It's simple, efficient, addictive, and very cost effective.

Posted by: Latnikaf | December 1, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

My wife and I have had a Kindle for a couple of years now and we both read more than we did before getting them. Now to say that is big because I have well over 10,000 hard and soft back books in my home on many bookshelves gathering dust. With my Kindle it just sits on my device or in my saved space and this has really saved me space in my home. I would never give up my Kindle as a book reader because I don't need something to serf the web or do everything else one can think of. The Kindle is for reading books and it does this so well. When I travel and people see me with it I'm always asked do I like it and I always tell them yes. The Kindle sells itself with no problems. Now if it could do color like it does B&W then I'd buy that Kindle.

Posted by: Concerned5 | December 2, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

hello everyone,im wholesale supplier online

Welcome to our website

===== http://www.1shopping.us/ =======

accept paypal and free shipping

We need your support and trust!!!

Dear friends, please temporarily stop your footsteps

To our website Walk around A look at

Maybe you'll find happiness in your sight shopping heaven and earth

You'll find our price is more suitable for you.

And we shall be offer you free gift about MP4 if you more order.

===== http://www.1shopping.us/ ========

Posted by: highshopping | December 2, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

hello everyone,im wholesale supplier online

Welcome to our website

===== http://www.1shopping.us/ =======

accept paypal and free shipping

We need your support and trust!!!

Dear friends, please temporarily stop your footsteps

To our website Walk around A look at

Maybe you'll find happiness in your sight shopping heaven and earth

You'll find our price is more suitable for you.

And we shall be offer you free gift about MP4 if you more order.

===== http://www.1shopping.us/ ========

Posted by: highshopping | December 2, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company