Google Editions will offer digital books for sale through its Web site in late June or July, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal quoting Google’s Chris Palma, strategic partner development manager for Google Books. The move will open up a new distribution channel for digital-book publishers and give Amazon and Apple a new competitor in the emerging digital-book market. […]
One key difference between Google’s approach to digital-book sales and the approaches used by Amazon and Apple is that Google customers will not be able to download books sold through the store: they’ll be accessible exclusively through a Web browser. That has some advantages for Google, in that it side-steps messy DRM (digital rights management) questions and allows it to offer the service for any device, rather than having to negotiate deals.
However, it means Google will have to create a mobile version of Google Editions that can support offline reading. It might also change the pricing equation, given that customers wouldn’t actually have their own copy of the books they purchase. Google declined to comment on the pricing structure for Google Editions, although Google’s Dan Clancy told The New Yorker in April that it would let publishers set the prices for their books.