Google Enters Electronic Book Market

Dennis Faas's picture

Google is set to challenge online retail giant Amazon by selling contemporary electronic books. And unlike Amazon, it will let publishers set the prices.

The move is a new development for the Google Book Search scheme, in which the firm scans texts so that users can search for particular phrases. While Google does intend to bring in paid access for full editions of some books covered by Book Search, the vast majority of titles in the scheme are either out of print or out of copyright.

At the moment, most modern books included in the scheme only have 20 per cent of their pages available for searching. If a reader does want to buy the book, they are given a link to the relevant pages for both print and electronic editions at other sites such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

No Kindle Needed

Under the new scheme, publishers can make such books eligible for sale in electronic editions through Google.

Unlike many electronic books, Google's electronic books won't require any special software and can be viewed through a browser on any Internet-enabled computer or device. Copies can be stored on the device so they can be read at any time.

Google hasn't yet announced what, if any, security measures will be in place to stop people from sharing the books without permission. (Source:

Difference between Google Books vs Amazon Kindle

The biggest difference between this and what Amazon offers will be the ability for publishers to set their own prices. When it comes to Amazon's Kindle, the publisher sets the wholesale price (the amount they receive from Amazon per sale) and Amazon then sets the retail price -- often at a loss for Amazon.

Google says it will allow publishers to set the retail price at any level, though it reserves the right to lower 'exorbitant' prices. While the firm didn't explicitly say so, it appears Google will take a percentage of the designated price, too. (Source:

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