Google To Join The E-Book Fray With New Store

Because there apparently aren’t enough gunslingers at the e-book OK Corral, Google announced today that they plan on joining the battle royale when they open their online e-book store sometime this summer.

Google’s decision was made public today during a Book Industry Study Group Panel in NYC. Chris Palma, the company’s manager for strategic-partner development, was the one who dropped the e-bomb.

Writes the Wall Street Journal:

The company is hoping to distinguish it from offerings from incumbents like Amazon by allowing users to access books from a broad range of websites using a broad array of devices.’s digital book business is largely focused on its Kindle e-reader and Kindle software that runs on some other select hardware.

Also unlike Amazon or Apple, where buyers generally go specifically with purchasing in mind, the Google service will allow users to instantly buy digital copies of titles that come up as results in its Google Books search.

Additionally, Google intends to allow third parties, including independent retail shops, to sell Google Editions on their own sites, taking the bulk of the revenue.

According to the WSJ report, publishers are hoping that the omnipresence of Google will increase the retail profile of e-books and cause a dramatic increase in sales.

“This levels the retail playing field,” said Evan Schnittman, vice president of global business development for Oxford University Press. “And as a publisher, what I like is that I won’t have to think about audiences based on devices. This is an electronic product that consumers can get anywhere as long as they have a Google account.”

Google to Launch Digital Books by Early Summer [WSJ]