Google Editions Means Profit for Book Publishers

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-05-05 Print this article Print

5. Retailers and publishers are getting the bulk of the profit

The main reason why I'm so optimistic about Google's chances of attracting publishers has everything to do with its profit-sharing plan. Google intends to share the majority of its profit with partners to help it roll out its service in as many places as possible. It's another smart move. Although publishers are making strong profits on their deals with Apple and, they'll naturally migrate to the ebook platform that will deliver the best return. If Google Editions is as successful as many believe it will be and continues to share the bulk of its revenue with publishers and retailers, it could put its competitors in a dangerous position.

6. The iPad isn't dominant

Let's not forget that although the iPad delivers a fine reading experience, it's not the dominant player in the ebook market. For now, the ebook space is a niche that few in the mainstream have fully embraced. Over the next few years, that will likely change as more people find value in reading ebooks. But until that happens, the market is up for grabs. And Google couldn't be happier about it. When Apple controls a market, few companies have been able to even come close to matching it. In a few years' time, without Google's intervention, Apple would have likely dominated ebooks. But Google is getting in at the right time with the right service, which should only help its chances of taking on Apple.

7. The Kindle isn't dominant

The Kindle is undoubtedly the most successful e-reader right now. A slew of ebooks are available that users can download quickly for the device. All in all, it's a great product. But it's not completely dominating the ebook market, either. As much as wants everyone to believe that it has the right strategy to take on any competitors, the Kindle is slipping as the iPad continues its strong sales. Once Google gets into the market, it may only be a matter of time before has to drastically change its strategy just to stay relevant.

8. Google's other services will help

Part of Google's ebook strategy is to make its books available to users on the Web. That's an important distinction. Google has done a brilliant job through the years of using its other Web services to drum up support for its new offerings. Who would have thought that Google Docs would have been such a success, given Microsoft Office's dominance? What about Gmail? Google knows how to attract customers to its new services. Google Editions will be no different.

9. It will be coming to other platforms

Google isn't dumb. It realizes that for most users, having a handy e-reader, like the iPad or the Kindle, is the ideal way to read ebooks. Realizing that, the company plans to bring its library of titles to multiple devices to give users the option of buying a book from Google, rather than, say, Apple. That could be the company's Trojan horse entry into the ebook market. Google has a way of delivering solid, usable software that appeals to users. Plus, if it decides to set its own prices, it can deliver content at a more affordable rate than the competition. If any company can afford to undercut competitor pricing, it's Google.

10. Google has strong business sense

Google's understanding of student needs is unparalleled. Take, for example, its decision to make digital editions of major universities' entire libraries of books available online. That functionality will almost surely make its way to Editions. When it does, college students from around the globe will be able to access any title in a major university's library to help them with their research, rather than walk over to their own college's facilities. Try to find that coming from any of Google's competition. With the right strategy, Editions could be the college student's favorite companion.

11. Google has strong business sense

Google understands what it takes to be a success. It evaluates markets, determines what's missing and sets out to slowly, but surely, do what it must to dominate. The company's decision to offer Editions didn't simply come out of Apple's iPad success; it was born years ago when the company started scanning works for its Google Books service. Google knows what needs to be done in the ebook market to be successful and it's setting out to do that.

Watch out,

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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