According to the Wall Street Journal, representatives from Google revealed today that Google Editions, the company’s planned bookselling service, will debut in late June or July.
Chris Palma, Google’s manager for strategic-partner development, announced the timetable at a panel on Google’s plans sponsored by the Book Industry Study Group in New York. The event, held at Random House’s Manhattan offices, was entitled: “The Book on Google: Is the Future of Publishing in the Cloud?”
Google says users will be able to buy digital copies of books they discover through its book-search service. It will also allow book retailers – even independent shops – to sell Google Editions on their own sites, taking the bulk of the revenue. Google is still deciding whether it will follow the model where publishers set the retail price or where Google sets retail prices. Publishers have yet to publicly commit to participate in the service, yet many continue to cheer the idea as potentially significant new opportunity to increase the sale of digital books
As an aside, it would be pretty ironic if Google were to be hailed as the publishing industry’s new saviour. Wasn’t it only a few months ago that everybody was freaking out over the Google Book Search settlement?