Mountain View, CA – Google Inc. will begin selling digital books in late June or July, a company representative said Tuesday, setting off a three-way battle between the Internet giant and Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc.
Chris Palma, Google’s manager for strategic-partner development, announced the timetable at a panel on Google’s plans sponsored by the Book Industry Study Group in New York. The event, held at Random House’s Manhattan offices, was entitled: “The Book on Google: Is the Future of Publishing in the Cloud?”
Google has been discussing its vision for distributing books online for more than a year. The company is hoping to distinguish itself from incumbents like Amazon by allowing users to access books from a broad range of sites using multiple devices.
Google says its new service–called Google Editions–will allow users to buy digital copies of books they discover through its book search service. It will also allow book retailers to sell Google Editions on their own sites, taking the bulk of the revenue. Google has yet to release details about pricing and which publishers are expected to participate.
The project is Google’s attempt to crack into the market of distributing current and backlist works, which represent the majority of industry sales. Separately, the search giant is attempting to win rights to distribute millions of out-of print books through its digital book settlement with authors and publishers. U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin is expected to rule in that case soon.