I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner:
The company said Google Editions marks its first effort to earn revenue from its ambitious Google Books scanning project, which attempts to make millions of printed books available online. Although the scanning program has faced complaints from authors and publishers over copyright, Google Editions will cover only books submitted and approved by the copyright holders.
The books bought through Google Editions will be accessible on any device that has a Web browser, including smart phones, netbooks and personal computers and laptops, putting Google in competition with Amazon.com Inc and its Kindle e-book reader.
Tom Turvey, head of Google Book Search’s publisher partnership program, said Thursday the e-book market is evolving to allow access of books from anywhere and from any device.
Consumers can buy directly from Google or from any number of retail partners using the Google Editions platform, including online stores like Barnesandnoble.com and Amazon. Google will actually host the e-books and make them searchable.
We expect the majority will go to retail partners not to Google,” Turvey said at the 61st Frankfurt Book Fair. “We are a wholesaler, a book distributor.”