As reported in an article in the Wall Street Journal Google's long-awaited foray into e-book distribution and sales -- Google Editions -- will be launched by the end of this year.
The venture is not just another "flavor" of e-book publishing. It means that an e-book can be bought anywhere on the web. As Dominique Raccah, publisher and owner of Sourcebooks Inc., commented,
Google is going to turn every Internet space that talks about a book into a place where you can buy that book... The Google model is going to drive a lot of sales. We think they could get 20% of the e-book market very fast.
Google's strategy is to not have its own e-reader device, but to provide books independent of a specific device. E-books can be downloaded for web browsers and for a variety of mobile reading devices, including tablets and smartphones. Users will store their books in libraries linked to their Google accounts.
Most e-books available through other online distribution channels will be available at Google Editions. Plus many major book publishers and small independent publishers have already signed deals with Google. Independent booksellers, who can't afford their own e-bookstores, have the means to enter the digital marketplace, by simply installing Google technology on their websites. It is expected that retail prices will be similar to those at major outlets, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Google Editions could be the perfect storm for e-book sales. Today's e-book readers are considered mass market at the $150 price point. Forrester predicts that 15 million e-readers and tablets will be sold by the end of 2010 in the U.S., more than five times the number sold in 2009. Further they predict digital book sales will triple to $966 million this year, from $301 million in 2009.
What does this mean for authors? Imagine reaching 190 million U.S. Google users each month. Imagine a reader being able to click and buy your book anywhere it is mentioned in an article or blog. Next, think about the foreign market. It is expected that Google Editions will be available internationally in the first quarter of next year.
This ever-expanding marketplace will provide amazing opportunities for the author who is creative about book promotion -- and knows how to get articles and information "out there" in a variety of ways.