Google Faces Competition from Amazon, Apple
The Google Books search platform will continue to surface results for books, with links on search results Web pages to let users purchase books from retailers. The Google eBooks store will be one of the choices where users can purchase titles. Google will not sell ads on the eBooks store through AdWords or AdSense, Dougall said.Google also sports a retailer and affiliate program, making the titles it offers from publishers available through online bookstores such as Powell's in Portland, Ore.This retail channel also includes the more than 200 independent bookstores that are part of the American Booksellers Association that will sell Google eBooks from their online stores. Revenues incurred from sales of books through affiliate partners will be split between the reseller, the publisher and Google. Dougall declined to specify what these splits were. Google is entering a super competitive market for ebook sales, where Amazon and Apple are currently the top providers. Amazon offers 750,000-plus titles for purchase for its Kindle, which starts at $149. Apple offers the iBooks application for its iPad, backed by 60,000 titles in its iBookstore. ChangeWave Research polled 2,800 consumers and found the iPad's share of the e-reader market had expanded from 16 percent to 32 percent between August and November, while the Kindle's dipped from 62 percent to 47 percent. Barnes & Noble's Nook platform holds 4 percent of the market, a shade behind Sony Reader, which holds 5 percent. While Google eBooks offers more titles, it is still starting from scratch against 4 established players. Google had wanted to get the platform out the door this summer. Dougall attributed the delay to the challenge of trying to offer an open-platform alternative to the existing services.