While Google Books has long offered free books - and, more recently, magazines - the company is now looking to sell e-books.
Google is looking to take Amazon on head-to-head in the electronic book marketplace, if reports circulating the Web are accurate.
According to an article over on CNet
, the search and advertising giant is hoping to capitalise on its e-book expertise - hard-won through its book scanning and digitisation project, which started offering digital downloads of out-of-copyright material back in 2006
- with a deal which will see it offering upwards of half a million digital books for sale from publishers it has already entered into agreements with.
The figures certainly look tempting for publishers: for e-books sold directly through Google's own site the publishers will see 63 percent of the sale price, with Google keeping the remaining 37 percent. However, the company is also looking to offer the digital content it has licensed through third-party sites including Amazon - which will see the share switch to 45 percent for the publisher and 55 percent for the reselling website, of which a tiny proportion is returned to Google.
While this offers threatened online e-book stores a reason not to complain - after all, expanding your digital stock by half a million titles is nothing to be sniffed at - it's clear that publishers will be looking to get their hands on the additional 18 percent share on offer by pushing Google's own store as heavily as possible.
Google has stated that it has no plans to offer a dedicated Google E-Book Reader device similar to Amazon's own Kindle, instead relying on the devices already available in the marketplace. While the company has made no reference to what - if any - DRM technology it will be attempting to prevent piracy with, the company already has experience with the widely-supported and open ePub format which can be paired with Adobe's Digital Editions DRM system.
Do you believe that Google could make a good go of becoming an e-book reseller, or are you still not convinced that electronic books are worth the hassle? Share your thoughts over in the forums