A couple of days ago I’ve received an email from Google Books informing me of an upcoming launch of Google’s new project — Google Editions — and inviting me to submit PDF files of my books “to sell digital access” to them once the project is open to public.
Here’s an excerpt from that email:
Our team is working hard on preparations for the upcoming launch of Google Editions, allowing Google Books Partners to sell digital access to their content with Google.
As part of this work, we’re happy to announce that it is now possible to submit ePub files through your Google Books Partner Program account. ePub is an open-standard file format for digital books. ePub files are not required for Google Editions, but they allow us to offer a reflowable text experience for users on mobile phones or other devices with small screens.
We encourage you to submit your ePub files by August 6 so we can work to make them available at the public launch later this year.
I browsed around and it appears that this has been cooking for a while. It seems that the Google Editions project is a logical continuation of Google’s agreement with “the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and a handful of authors and publishers” reached upon a settlement of a class action lawsuit filed over copyright issues [source].
Google plans to sell “full online access to millions of books” [source] it has already collected, and is open to collaborating with more authors. Per Wall Street Journal, Google’s digital book store is set to launch in late June or July of this year.
Sounds very interesting, and I’ve just submitted PDFs of my books to Google. Looks like Google Editions is set to become a major competitor of Amazon in the digital books market. And since Google’s approach is already as thorough as with anything it does, this will be a tough competitor for Amazon to fight!