Thursday, March 19, 2009

Are Google Establishing Their Sales Channels?

So to claim for the crown of the biggest digital library, Sony has now struck a deal with Google, the result being is a half million copyright-free books available on its Reader device.

The New York Times article certainly was an interesting one, not because of what it reported, but because of what it didn’t report.

So we have 500,000 out of copyright titles published pre 1923. True there are many classics in there and many hidden gems but there is also lots of other titles which just make up the numbers and it would appear at first glance, that is what Sony are after – numbers. They now can claim more than Amazon, but does it matter? They may have merely made the haystack bigger and presented their reader with lots of cheap or free reads.

So are they to sell these ‘free’ books and at what price? Will half a million cheap reads devalue the far fewer current reads or make their value greater? Will Google now do deals with all the other look-alikes, so effectively selling the material which Google aim to give away free under Google Book Search? Will Amazon now do a deal with Google which would make as much sense as Sony? Is the deal exclusive or the first of many licensing deals? Will these be DRM free?

The big question is what will happen when Google gets its way over the settlement and hovers up all the orphans? Is this the real prize? Is establishing a sales channel or channels the real objective of the liaison?

Its interesting to sit back and realise that the players who are helping shape the industry are not indigenous to it, have no real credentials or history within it, some may say are fickle and apt to follow the route taken by Live Book Search and yet are introducing change at a rate often faster than the industry can ingest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Sometimes in this day of new and exciting toys and techies that we neither need or understand, more and more things are being done just because they can be. Is the book world going the way of reality television? Forget new ideas just copy anything remotely successful...jmk