Monday, June 01, 2009
Google is entering the market for ebooks. This is not the first time that ebooks seem closer to become real, but after so many years of trying we all are a little bit skeptic that it could finally happen.
The Kindle and specially the new version was a big step towards the electronic book, but also the decision of some universities to promote electronic versions of textbooks, helped a lot.
Now we will witness two competing models. The one of Amazon that set the price and keeps it low (around $9.99) and the one of Google where price will be set by the publisher. The one of Amazon, promoting a separate device and the one of Google allowing any device.
Also, the strategy of Google is, as usual, open. A program will allow publishers to put books on the market, supposedly similar to AdWords. Nonetheless, for Amazon it won't be difficult to Open its eBook offer to other devices (Amazon already has a version for the iPod/iPhone) and simplify the mechanics of publishing. Therefore, we can take competition between these two giants for granted.
However, besides the Business Model, technology plays a big role, specially the reader. In that aspect too, seems that time is right. On one side we have increasing rumors of an Apple tablet and on the other, Windows 7 is poisoned towards multi-touch experiences.
Books, like music and movies are suffering a tremendous change. Once we go for digital contents, the added value of the distributor is only its on-line marketing capacity, far away from its current experience in physical distribution channels, because all the technicalities needed to put books in the market are easily solved by users themselves. In music iTunes has been the force behind Apple's success, will eBooks be the next Google search?