updated 08:00 am EST, Wed December 1, 2010
Google Editions bookstore near opening
Google's long promised Editions e-bookstore is near launching, both official and unofficial sources said today. Project management lead Scott Dougall confirmed that the bookstore was on track to launch in the US by the end of the year and internationally in early 2011. While this would give Google four weeks to go, publishers told the WSJ that they were already uploading books and thus that Editions could be ready sooner in that timeframe.
The catalog should have hundreds of thousands of paid titles on launch, making it larger than Apple's iBookstore but potentially smaller than competitors like the Kindle Store or the Nook store with over a million titles. Google should still supplement it with millions of free public domain books and should catch up in its library either by launch or shortly afterwards, company engineering director James Crawford said.
Much of Google's strategy will depend on its being independent not just technically but also by decentralizing book sales themselves. Books will be readable directly from the web and should be formatted in a way that should be viewable on smartphones and tablets without having to use a native app. The service will let independent stores have their own outlets and profit from Editions sales.
The strategy would save Google from having to adapt Android specifically to e-book reading and would let Chrome OS devices have the same access. It could also ease getting on to competing platforms, even platforms that are unlikely to allow competing readers outside of a browser, such as the Kindle or Nook Color.