Google Editions Delayed and Why It’s Good for Readers

A couple of days ago Reuters had news stating that Google Editions is “due to launch this fall”.

It sounds like a hell of a delay. When first announced in October last year it was due to start in first months of 2010. Then it was about to launch in June or July. Now we have to wait till a vague fall.

The delay suggests Google is not ready with a new service. In view of all failures it’s not good to hurry up again.

Postponing is not good for Google, but it’s actually good for the reader. There are two major reasons for that.

Google will have time to improve before it’s too late

There are a lot of questions and concerns about a new e-bookstore. In my opinion a serious player in the e-book market should not only provide the right tools to buy books but also the right tools to read them.

Reading interface is what I most worry about. If they really want to bring readers in, they have to offer a brilliant tool to read books in a browser. Other Google services are not a good reference. The level to reach are e-reading applications used in mobile devices: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Stanza, Aldiko and many others. There are web-based reading services like Ibis Reader. It’s what readers will refer to.

If after launch Google Editions will disappoint readers there will be no second chance to fix it. People are generally aware of how Google Books works and looks. They’ll give a try – once – and they have to find big improvements.

Having more time means we can expect a better reading interface, developed by Google itself or, what I hope for – independent web developers.

Competitors will be forced to react at least one more time

What I really liked about former Google Editions launch dates was how current players were reacting. They were trying to weaken the impact of a launch.

It was not a New Year’s gift from Amazon to change publishing terms, including a 70% revenue share offered to Kindle publishers.

Even better things happened in a second half of June, right before the 2nd launch. Remember e-reader price war? Within a couple of days prices were reduced to much below a magic $200.

Google Editions’ competitive edge is “no extra device needed – just use the one you already have”. It’s the biggest threat to device-centric players. They have to lower prices of their devices and develop applications for smartphones and tablets.

From a reader’s point of view it’s a right path to follow. One or two new Google Editions launch dates could bring e-reader prices well below $100.

8 Replies to “Google Editions Delayed and Why It’s Good for Readers”

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  2. One thing I am not sure about…I own a Sony Reader (prs-505) will Google Editions allow me to download onto it in ePub format?? Or will it only be accessible in the cloud for internet enabled devices?


  3. ePubs will be dowoadable, encrypted with Adobe DRM, so if your ereader
    supports it, you’ll be able to read Google Editions books.

    On Wednesday, December 1, 2010, Disqus


  4. In that case I can’t wait for it to launch. We don’t have many options for purchasing ePub books in the UK, so Google coming on the scene would be very welcome. Maybe it will convince people to not to buy Kindles….or finally convince Amazon to offer ePub as a standard. I notice Amazon have been marketing quite aggressively of late, wonder if this has something to do with it.


  5. You can try Kobo ( They sell ePubs with Adobe DRM, so if
    you’re familiar with Adobe Digital Editions, you shouldn’t have a problem.
    They sell books internationally and don’t charge, like Amazon, for
    international delivery of e-books.


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