According to the Wall Street Journal, Google's going to join the ebook fray as early as this June. If Amazon thought the iBookstore was crowding their turf already, wait until they have to fight off Google Editions.
According to Google exec Chris Palma, Google Editions will let you buy digital copies of books you find through Google Book Search. Earlier reports indicated that the service would launch with between 400,000 and 600,000 available titles, instantly swamping its competitors. Book retailers will be able to sell Google Editions on their sites, although pricing and specific availability have yet to be announced. What's clear, though, is that the ebook pricing wars are about to get very interesting.
Google Editions has been in the works since last year, but faced a series of delays as publishers fought back against Google's proposed deal structure. In its original conception, Google wanted consumers to be able to print copies and cut and paste text, while publishers would get a sub-standard 63 per cent of the revenue. As of February, it looked as though publishers were gaining the upper hand in negotiations towards a more traditional sales and usage structure, but we'll know in the next several weeks just how much ground they gained.