Google Books engineering director Dan Clancy talked about Google’s Vision for ebooks at the Computer History Museum last night. Google’s eBook Vision in a nutshell (courtesy MediaBistro) –
Principle 1: [Anyone can sell digital books] Google will partner with all interested retailers, so you’ll be able to buy books wherever you like—at an online site or your neighborhood bookstore.
Principle 2: [Google owns and stores the actual digital content] The books themselves will be stored “in the cloud,” meaning out on some Google server, rather than on your computer hard drive or in a device you own.
Principle 3: [All Devices can read Google Books] And you’ll be able to read them on any device you want—e-reader, phone, computer, or netbook.
Yet another development in the Amazon Vs Google Book Wars. MediaBistro has a transcript of the entire talk.
Kindle Vs Google – Contrasting Google’s eBooks Vision with Amazon’s Kindle Vision
Obviously the big difference is that Google is portraying itself as wanting to just take a small piece of the pie and leave a lot for publishers and retailers.
They’re sort of hinting –
- Amazon is evil and want to sell books themselves. Google is good and will let anyone sell books.
- Amazon is evil and restricting ebooks to their device and their apps. Google will let any device read Google eBooks.
Of course, all the books can be safely stored in Google’s Cloud since Google is a company that can be trusted and will be around for a long time.
Google’s eBook Vision from a Competitive Strategy Perspective
The new Google eBooks vision is exactly what a company should sell if it wants to come into a market where
- A new upcoming player is on the verge of taking over.
- The incumbents are under major threat.
First, as Google did with social networking (open social) and wireless (android), there’s a lot of talk of the beauty of openness –
I think this is the right model, because we’re trying to make what would be an open model that encourages competition.
Open Model that encourages competition – So for orphan works Google gets sole rights, and with New Books, where Amazon has the advantage, it wants openness.
Next, Google throws out a bone to existing stakeholders –
- Publishers – Google has already said it would let publishers set ebook prices.
- Retailers – Mr. Clancy praises the role of physical bookstores and warns of the threat if they aren’t allowed to sell digital books –
“Right now the physical bookstores are a critical part of our book ecosystem …
It’s a mistake if we think of our future digital world as digital means online and physical means offline. Because if that happens and 10 percent of the world goes digital, that’s going to be really hard for all the bookstores to sustain their business model
So the solution is for physical bookstores to sell digital books?
Kindle Vs Google – The Key Difference
The key difference is that Google is selling people the notion that once books are digital and all up in one company’s cloud –
- Retailers will still matter.
- Publishers will still have power over prices.
- People will not flock to the one company that has all the content available.
Are bookstores really going to buy this argument?
Once we have ebooks take off, you only need bookstores for the 25% of people who stick with physical books.
People are NOT going to drive down to your store so they can load an ebook onto their Kindle or Sony.
Amazon and B&N are the two biggest stores selling physical books – look at what they’re doing.
- They’re creating their own online ebook stores.
- They’re creating and storing their own ebooks.
As the Amazon Kindle Vs Google Books Book Wars continue to escalate we’ll be sure to see more fun developments.