Right now, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is probably peering anxiously over his shoulder, waiting for the Google monster to pull fully into view. And why not? Today, Google confirmed that it was planning to launch an online bookstore called Google Editions, which will go live early in 2010.
First things first: Google Editions is not Google Book Search. The two are very separate.
Editions, for one, is a for-profit enterprise. The project will launch with approximately 500,000 titles from a range of publishers, a Google spokesman said. Each title would then be sold in a platform-neutral e-format – you could download the books to your desktop, or to a reading device such as the Amazon Kindle.
Earlier this year, On Demand Books, the creators of the Espresso Book Machine, hitched their business onto the back-end of Google’s vast repository of public domain books. Already, On Demand has Espresso machines in a handful of locations, from Australia to Egypt and the US.
By the beginning of next year, On Demand says it could have as many as 40 printers in cities around the world. According to figures provided by On Demand, a 300-page book could be printed and bound by the Espresso machine in under five minutes.
“We believe in an open ecosystem where people can access and read books, whether at a computer, on their phone or electronic reader, or from their local library or bookshop,” Google Product Manager Brandon Badger wrote at the start of the On Demand/Google partnership.