It looks as if Amazon and Sony are going to have a direct sales channel challenge from Google. At the Tools of Change conference in Frankfurt Google announced that it will be running out its own book sales offering by June of next year.
Google is touting a “cloud” model which is supposed to allow the consumer to read a book on any device, anywhere, as long as the consumer can get to the library. Google’s idea, according the The Bookseller, is that the consumer shouldn’t have to pick a device, software or retailer. “Once a book has been accessed on a given device, a cached version will exist, making it possible for readers to access the book offline.” I must admit that without a few more details I don’t understand how this will work. The consumer will be able to buy the book from Google Books, a Google-partner retailer, or the publisher’s own website.
Evidently the publisher will take 63% if the book is bought through Google Books or 45% if the book is bought through a retailer.
We’ll need some more details to make sense of all of this, but competition is great and I wonder if DRM will be involved.