Google confirms Canadian launch of eBookstore will go forward
A decision last week by a U.S. federal court to reject the Google Book Settlement will not affect the company’s plans to set up an e-book retail presence in Canada. “We plan to roll out internationally later this year,” says Roland Lange, a strategic partner development manager at Google. Lange did not provide a specific launch date.
Lange was scheduled to present a talk on Google eBooks at BookNet Canada’s Technology Forum last Thursday, but had to cancel due to illness. He was replaced by Google account manager Anna Becker, who spoke to a sold-out room eager to learn more about the future of the Canadian Google eBookstore. Millions of Google e-books are already available in the U.S. through the eBookstore, the Android Market, and over 200 Google reseller partners, comprised mostly of independent bookstores that sell the e-books through their websites.
Becker confirmed that Google’s massive digital library project, which is at the centre of the controversial settlement, is not directly connected to the eBookstore and its partner programs. The settlement would have allowed Google to continue digitizing out-of-print books and display excerpts from book contents, regardless of whether copyright holders had given permission.
Mark Lefebvre, president of the Canadian Booksellers Association, says Google is in initial beta-testing with a handful of Canadian booksellers, and that early feedback from booksellers has been positive. He also notes that Google seems to be committed to respecting territorial restrictions on U.S. eBooks. “They’ve been very good at respecting the borders,” he says. “Feedback from the CBA members who have been working with them doing beta-testing is that Google does take their ‘do no evil’ [motto] very seriously.”
In terms of eBooks revenue, Lange explains that profits are shared between Google, retailers, and rightsholders. Google eBooks are available on a variety of devices, including smart phones, tablets, PCs, and more than 85 compatible e-readers.