Google eBookstore could create ad-supported book publishing model: experts

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Google's just launched eBookstore, which made available approximately 3 million digital books from more than 4,000 publishers, will be a boon for the nascent e-tablet market, according to industry experts. It could also usher in ad-supported book publishing.

The move is Google's play against retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon in the relatively immature e-book market. Less than 10% of US online adults read e-books, noted James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, in a blog post on the topic. Still, the launch will benefit the tablet and smartphone markets because consumers can use eBookstore to download e-books on any tablet except Amazon's Kindle. However, Kindle users can still download free books from Google.

Google now has a unique position in the digital book space because it can sell books to customers immediately after a Web search on a given subject. The company can also create an ad-supported publishing model, said McQuivey, in his blog post.

“Google intends to provide its books from the cloud, it can deliver ads that are timely and targeted,” he said. “And the economics of publishing are swiftly moving away from an analog production model.”

Mark Tauschek, research director at Info-Tech Research Group, said the launch will also benefit Apple because of the iPad's color display.

“Google will make available books with color and illustration,” he said. “And it's likely that eBookstore will cause a significant increase in complex page material that wasn't readily available before. The Kindle and the Nook were originally about words on flat surfaces, and although the Nook's new interface can handle complex pages…the iPad is a very good device on which to consume those books.”

Google said in a blog post that it has scanned more than 15 million books from more than 35,000 publishers since 2004. It has said it plans to scan every book ever published.

“You can choose where to buy your e-books like you choose where to buy your print books, and keep them all on the same bookshelf regardless of where you got them,” said Abraham Murray, Google product manager, on the company's official blog. “Launching Google eBooks is an initial step toward giving you greater access to the vast variety of information and entertainment found in books. Our journey has just begun.”

A Google representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

Earlier this week, daily deals site Groupon reportedly rejected a multibillion dollar acquisition proposal from Google.

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