Monday, February 26, 2007

On Google and Booksellers

The Register ran an article yesterday commenting on how some booksellers are coming to embrace the eventual concept of Google Books as massive retail clearinghouse:

"When Google first unveiled its plans at the Frankfurt Bookfair in 2004, traditional booksellers trembled at the thought of competing with the Google behemoth. But the tables have seemingly turned with e-savvy retailers now looking forward to becoming involved because there is no fee for publishers to participate in Google Book Search. (Although they must pay to ship titles to Google). On the other hand the industry's traditional portals, such as ABE, Amazon and Alibris, charge vendors to market their wares online and add shipping costs to their prices.

According to Conor Kenny, who heads up landmark Galway bookstore Kennys - also probably the oldest online bookstore in the world - vendors are looking forward to embracing Google. 'Put simply, the power of Google cannot be overlooked,' he says.

The mark up for online vendors on book sales is around 35 per cent before handling. However, if purchased from, say, Kennys via Amazon, the huge internet retailer charges around 15 per cent on the sale.

For its part, Google says it is not taking a cut from booksellers, and claims it hasn't figured out how to generate revenue from the project. Yet."

An interesting angle to the Google Books Project. Also, if you haven't read Jeff Toobin's "Google's Moon Shot" from the 2/5 issue of the New Yorker, I recommend it; it's a good rundown of the Project's progress to date and where Google sees it going.

[h/t Shelf::Life for the bookseller story]

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