ABA IndieCommerce Sites to Offer Google Editions

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Google Editions offers a "a new, exciting twist on e-books," ABA COO Len Vlahos told a standing-room-only audience at Tuesday afternoon's session featuring Tom Turvey, director of strategic partnerships for Google. "ABA is partnering with Google for our member booksellers who use IndieCommerce, as well as for all ABA members," Vlahos said. The session was part of ABA's Day of Education, sponsored by Ingram.

It was standing-room-only at the Google Editions education session.

Google Editions, which is a separate entity from the Google Books Library Project, is expected to launch this summer.

Turvey told the audience that Google Editions -- cloud-based e-books that will exist on the Google server and be "accessed" by consumers -- will be readable on any e-reading device as long as the device manufacturer allows it, as well as on iPhones, tablets, and laptops. They will be available to buyers anywhere there is Internet access.

One of the primary drawbacks of some dedicated e-readers, Turvey explained, is their "closed" or proprietary formats, "silos," which create a fragmented e-book market. What Google Editions does is "separate the e-book from any device you happen to be reading it on, and you can even separate it from Google."

Tom Turvey addresses questions about Google Editions.

Turvey underscored that Google is actively looking at ways to involve independent booksellers in sales of Google Editions e-books. "We want to empower booksellers to sell books. Google is not a merchandiser. We want you to be able to sell e-books to the people you already sell paper books to."

Sales of Google Editions by ABA IndieCommerce sites will be handled similar to sales for e-book sales via Ingram. For titles from most publishers, booksellers will pay a discount off a suggested retail price and will be free to set their own retail price for consumers. For a few publishers that follow the "agency model" of selling e-books, the publisher will set a price that will be fixed across all retailers.

About bundling e-books with other formats, Turvey said, "If a bookseller is able to marry the e-book with the print version, and offer a ... bulk discount, that really puts you in the mix. After all, the print business is still 94 percent of the business. But getting someone to also buy e-books is really key for booksellers."

During a lengthy Q&A session, Turvey and Vlahos addressed questions from the audience. Among the clarifications they offered:

  • Once a Google Edition is purchased, it can be downloaded on different devices.

  • The process of buying a Google Edition from an ABA IndieCommerce site would work the same as it does for any other e-book.

  • Google Editions and ABA are discussing long range plans to use a combination of geo-location technology and Google checkout to allow consumers to physically browse in a bricks-and-mortar store and then buy the Google edition "then and there," with the store sharing in the revenue for the sale.

Plans to smoothly integrate Google Editions into ABA IndieCommerce are part of a "larger upgrade to the IndieCommerce platform" taking place this year, Vlahos said.