Google Editions set for ebook assault

Google's ebook store venture, Google Editions, is finally set for an official launch after failing to meet its summer deadline.

The platform should go live in the US by the end of this year, with an international roll-out planned for the first quarter of 2011.

It is thought that a number of legal and technical issues have held up the launch and Scott Dougall, a Google product management director said: "Because of the complexity of this project, we didn't want to come out with something that wasn't thorough".

Google Editions will allow people to view the content they've purchased on as wide a range of devices as possible, rather than locking consumers into a certain hardware. 

It will let customers buy a copy of any title that it's got a license to sell and book retailers will also be able to embed a Google Editions shop on their website, allowing them to sell ebooks through Google's store.

The "read anywhere" model will also be favourable to independent book-stores, who will be afforded the opportunity to reach a massive audience with their ebook offerings.

It isn't yet known what sort of revenue share the Big G will be offering book stores, or what partners it already has lined up - but it is believed up to 200 independent book-sellers could be on board.

"Google is going to turn every Internet space that talks about a book into a place where you can buy that book", says Dominique Raccah, publisher and owner of independent publisher Sourcebooks Inc.

"The Google model is going to drive a lot of sales. We think they could get 20 per cent of the e-book market very fast".

Do you think Google can help the ebook market grow, and help the independents to compete? Or is the venture the next Google Wave and destined to fail? Let us know what you think using the comments below.