Google will be storming into the increasingly crowded e-book market in a few months, launching a direct challenge against Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other digital booksellers. The Internet search giant's new service, Google Editions, will include e-books from smaller booksellers nationwide. Users will be able to read what they buy on any Web-enabled device—from many mobile phones to netbooks to desktop computers—rather than soley an iPad, Kindle, or Nook. Will the "open ecosystem" Editions "flip the digital book industry upside down," or is Google getting in over its head?
Google is unlikely to win this fight: Unless Google has some great new features up its sleeve, Amazon and Apple are probably safe, says Ian Paul in PC World. That's especially true if its Editions books are just "glorified Web pages," instead of the feature-rich e-books from other vendors. Google's entering a well-populated market, and so far I've seen nothing to "set it apart."
"Google's e-book store: Five burning questions"
Google's timing is "impeccable": Google's gamble, says Christopher Dawson in ZDNet, is that customers will be willing to keep their e-books in the "cloud," rather than download them to their Kindles and iPads. It's a good bet, at just the right time. Google's "giant selection" of e-books, readable on any of the new "tablet devices and really outstanding smart phones," should have "extremely broad appeal."
"Google Editions brings 'open ecosystem' to e-book market"
Who won't win? The consumer: Competition is supposed to drive down prices, says Therese Poletti in MarketWatch, so you'd think "having a huge, deep-pocketed player enter the game" would be a good thing. But Google, like Apple and Amazon, looks to be letting publishing houses, not the market. That's "good for publishers, bad for customers."
"Google entry to further heat up e-books rivalry"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why charity can't solve society's deepest problems
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How social conservatives became a minority in need of protection
- Grammar quiz: Do you know the passive voice?
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
Subscribe to the Week