It’s official—according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall applies), Google will begin selling e-books in June or July 2010. Chris Palma, Google’s manager for strategic-partner development, announced the timetable at a Book Industry Study Group-sponsored panel entitled “The Book on Google: Is the Future of Publishing in the Cloud?”
While Google has discussed its vision for distributing books online in the past, this is the first time the company has mentioned a date for when it plans to jump into the e-book fray. What should set Google’s offerings apart from those of competitors like Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble, is that it will allow users to access books from a broad range of sites using multiple devices.
The new service, called Google Editions, will let users buy digital copies of books they discover through its book-search service. It will also let book retailers of all sizes sell Google Editions on their own sites, keeping most of the revenue. When it launches, Google Editions is expected to have around 500,000 titles, though Google has yet to release details about pricing or which publishers will participate.