@ E-Book Summit: Google Books Expects Direct Sales By Mid-Year


Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Books still doesn’t have a deal with Amazon’s Kindle to sell its 1.5 million public domain e-books, but the company believes the arrangement it has with Sony (NYSE: SNE) will serve as a template for its future negotiations. In a presentation followed by a Q&A with Nieman Labs’ Josh Benton at Mediabistro’s e-Book Summit, Google Books Product Manager Brandon Badger said the company is in the midst of getting publishers to sign contracts as it prepares for direct sales by the middle of next year. “We’d love to make our books available through all retailers and devices,” Badger said. “That’s our goal.” As for wrapping up the settlement process with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers over public domain books, Badger said he felt unable to comment, saying he believed it was moving forward.

Google Books’ primary business model is to be a direct seller of e-books. After that, they expect publishers and retailers to move its products, followed by device makers. “I think we will help sell books, in much the way AdSense helps online merchants make money by moving users to their site, while publishers realize ad revenue.”

Badger promises that publishers will have near total control on pricing. “If publishers set to high a price, they won’t sell books, simple as that,” he said. “Publishers will get a healthy cut of the revenues, much healthier than some other companies offer,” Badger said to audience laughter, as Amazon’s 70 percent revenue take of Kindle sales was top of mind at the conference.

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