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
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- Paul Ryan's anti-poverty plan is another sign of life in the GOP
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- Yes, Republicans can impeach President Obama
Subscribe to the Week