Clash of the Titans: Google vs. Amazon & Apple

Today, Amazon announced that it will sell e-books for the iPod Touch and iPhone:
Starting Wednesday, owners of these Apple devices can download a free application, Kindle for iPhone and iPod Touch, from Apple’s App Store. The software will give them full access to the 240,000 e-books for sale on Amazon.com, which include a majority of best sellers.

The move comes a week after Amazon started shipping the updated version of its Kindle reading device. It signals that the company may be more interested in becoming the pre-eminent retailer of e-books than in being the top manufacturer of reading devices.
Remember when I thought that the whoever would be the first to sell books through apple would will the digital-book game? It might not be true anymore. Recently, Googlebooks launched a $7-million spending campaign to seek out authors world-wide via print ads in newspapers.
The almost comically sweeping attempt to reach the world’s entire literate population is a reflection of the ambitions of the Google Book Search project, in which the company hopes to digitize every book — famous or not, in any language, published anywhere on earth — found in the world’s libraries.

...But as it turns out, authors and publishers are hard to track down. More than members of most settlement classes, said Kathy Kinsella of Kinsella Media in Washington, which is directing the ad campaign, these are a particularly diffuse group.

“We looked at how many books were published in various areas,” she said, “and we knew from the plaintiffs and Google that 30 percent were published in the U.S., 30 percent in industrialized countries. The rest of the world is the rest.”

So, using United Nations data, her company created a list of countries and territories. Some nations, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, were excluded because they do not agree to international copyright terms. In others, like Cuba, North Korea and Myanmar, her company is prohibited from buying ads because of United States trade embargos, Ms. Kinsella said.
Google is willing to make an arrangement with the authors to allow their books to be read online for a fee; Google will take a cut and so will the copyright holder. This is a game changing move, considering the scope of the Googlebooks project. Googlebooks might be simply more accessible since it works on any platform, not just Kindles or iPhones. Their strategy probably has Amazon and Apple shaking in their boots.

via NYTimes, "Amazon to Sell E-Books for Apple Devices" and "A Google Search of a Distinctly Retro Kind"

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