In January Google purchased E-Book Technologies, a company that sells software used to operate digital reading devices, along with related publishing tools. Neither Google nor eBook said how much the search engine giant paid for the company. What the company had that Google primarily wanted was the patents it owned.
Dmitriy Molchanov an analyst with the Yankee Group said right after the purchase that “The company developed a software interface that resembles Shelfari’s virtual bookshelf—virtual bookshelf technology enables readers to share and organize their favorite content online. Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, bought Shelfari in 2008.”
“The human capital at eBook Technologies is substantial as well,” Molchanov says. “Between the two of them, John Rivlin and Garth Conboy, the CEO and president, hold more than eight e-book-related patents. Adding them to the Google team will help Google’s eBookstore bring new innovations to market.”
This acquisition came mere months after they opened up the Google eBookstore, formally Google Editions. The current store has hundreds of thousands of digital books from leading publishers such as Macmillan, Random House and Simon & Schuster. Google plans to roll out the entire service internationally later on in the year.
Google first cut its teeth in the publishing world with its ill-fated attempt to scan and catalog every book in existence and came under an onslaught of lawsuits from estates of dead writers and publishing companies.
Now that Google is armed with man power and patents used in e-Readers from eBook Technologies and has their own eBookstore can a dedicated Google e-Reader be far behind?
Google has made it a point to be a pivotal factor in the success of smart-phones via its Android operating system and now is seeking to do the same with the laptop market with the Chrome OS. Although Google failed at trying to peddle its Nexus One phone by itself, I bet it did not sour them to the notion of selling things directly.
There is no doubt that e-Readers are going to be a 7 billion dollar industry according to a recent report from the Yankee group. eBook Sales in 2011 are estimated to be over $966 million dollars, up from $301 million dollars last year, and are to reach 2.81 billion dollars in 2015, according to market research firm Forrester.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.