Google Editions, the service that will allow users to read copyrighted books from Google Book Search is expected to bring far-reaching changes for the sale of digital books and it is to be launched this month.
According to the Wall Street Journal Google is in the final stages of launching its long-awaited e-book retailing venture, Google Editions.
By providing an open, "read anywhere", model that is different from competitors such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Google hopes to "upend" the existing e-book market.
Users will be able to buy books directly from Google or from multiple online retailers—including independent bookstores—and add them to an online library tied to a Google account. They will be able to access their Google accounts on most devices with a Web browser, including personal computers, smartphones and tablets.
Currently Amazon is estimated to have as much as 65% of the digital books market in a model that ensures that all purchases made by Kindle users are only from an Amazon store, although they can read them on alternative devices that run Kindle software and can access free books from other sources.
Because of Google's reach many believe Google Editions has the potential to transform the e-book market. Digital book sales are expected to more than triple to $966 million this year, according to Forrester Research, from $301 million in 2009.
Google's professed aim is to reach all Internet users, not just those with tablets, through a program in which websites refer their users to Google Editions. For example, a surfing-related blog could recommend a surfing book, point readers to Google Editions to purchase it, and share revenue with Google. Through another program, booksellers could sell Google Editions e-books from their websites and share revenue with Google.
The e-books store is an extension of Google's plan to scan the world's 150 million or so books and make them accessible to users of Google's Web-search engine. This project, Google Books, is 10% complete according to Google executives.