Google Editions, the search giant’s entry into the e-book market, is in the “final stages,” and is set to debut by the end of the year, posing a threat to Apple’s new iBookstore, according to a new report.
Google Editions will have a significantly different sales model from most competitors, such as Amazon’s Kindle store or Apple’s iBookStore. Instead of purchasing books through a single online store, Google will let users buy them either from Google or from independent bookstores and then tie them to a Google account, which will enable them to read the books anywhere and on any device they please.
“Google is going to turn every Internet space that talks about a book into a place where you can buy that book,” Dominique Raccah, publisher and owner of Sourcebooks Inc, told the Journal. “The Google model is going to drive a lot of sales. We think they could get 20% of the e-book market very fast.”
Originally, Google Editions was supposed to launch even earlier in 2010, but that didn’t happen; in May, Google’s Manager for Strategic Partner Development Chris Palma said the launch is slated for June or July 2010.
The 6-month delay may have cost Google though, as Apple and Amazon have had extra time to solidify their places in the market. A recent survey by Changewave research showed that Apple’s iPad is gaining steadily on Amazon’s Kindle in the e-reader market. Apple doubled its market share from 16 percent in August to 32 percent in November, while Amazon’s share dropped from 62 percent to 47 percent over the same period.
Forrester Research predicts that more than 15 million e-readers and tablets will be sold in 2010, compared to an estimated 2.8 million e-readers in 2009. If the 15 million number is to believed, Apple will take the lion’s share of the market, as it had sold over 7 million iPads by the end of September.
Now, Google product management director Scott Dougall claims everything is set for a launch by the end of 2010 in the U.S. and in the first quarter of 2011 internationally. “Because of the complexity of this project, we didn’t want to come out with something that wasn’t thorough,” said Dougall.