Andrew Veihmeyer / The Collegian
Originally slated for a summer 2010 launch, Google Editions, one of Google’s newest ventures, is a future online e-book store that seeks to take a bite out of the already established industry, and build upon its current Google Books service.
According to Dan Clancy, engineer of both Google Books and Google Editions in The New Yorker article, “Publish or Perish,” Google Editions will be able to function on any device with an Internet connection. Once a user purchases, it will be stored in their collection when users sign in to their Google account, a type of freedom that eludes both Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad.
In addition, the article mentions the service will also work with physical bookstores to sell the electronic books and allow publishers to set the price of their own publications of which they would receive 55 percent of the profits.
“I think I’d buy [the iPad] instead,” said Fresno State student Javier Perez, 19, majoring in mechanical engineering. “You wouldn’t have to worry about being in a wireless area.”
Perez also said that e-books would be nice for the convenience in not having to haul around books, and he would do it if the costs were low, but admitted that he probably wouldn’t use Google Editions or a device designed specifically for reading books, like the Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s Nook. The iPad is capable of more things, he said.
The Henry Madden Library held “Technology Petting Zoo” on Sept. 15 and 16, giving Fresno State students and faculty the opportunity to talk with representatives from some of Google’s primary competitors like Apple and Barnes and Noble. Those who attended were able to test out the e-book capable products. Publishing companies like McGraw-Hill and Pearson were also present.
“We’ve been working alongside Google,” said Kayla Griffith, digital sales representative for Barnes and Noble.
Griffith said the company is trying to give more flexibility to Nook by collaborating with other vendors, like Amazon, to strive for more compatibility. The Nook, she said, also has expandable memory that is more unique to the device.
According to an article in Google Watch, “Google Editions Doesn’t Stand a Chance vs. Amazon Kindle,” there won’t be any Digital Rights Media (DRM) issues in Google Editions, a copy-protection method on e-books that many consumers call invasive or too restrictive.
“There are issues yet to be resolved [about e-book DRM on the iPad],” said Stephen Silver, an account executive for Apple. But Silver said Apple is working to better integrate book publisher’s content.
Whether the e-book is online-based like Google Editions or through a specific device, Marissabeth Yost, 21, a communicative disorders and deaf studies major, said she probably wouldn’t use either service.
“Most people aren’t going to buy a separate device just to read books,” she said.
Yost said that she doesn’t see very many students using e-book devices around campus and thinks it’s more for the older crowd than the average college student.
Google’s initial jump into digital books came with 2004’s Google Books (then titled Google Print). Google Books allows users to do a search for digitized works, both in the public domain and still under copyright, however the full-text is only available with public domain works while the copyrighted work displayed samples of the text (although the full text was still able to be searched).
In 2005, the Authors Guild of America and Association of American Publishers (AAP) sued Google for “copyright infringement”.
According to a Google press release from 2008, Google reached a settlement with the Authors Guild of America and AAP to pay $125 million in exchange for Google to display full text of out-of-print works. It would also pave the way for more copyrighted books to be available digitally.
Although Google Editions does not currently have a launching date in the U.S., Google announced on Sept. 13 that they would launch its new service in Japan next year.