Till last year, Amazon maintained a sway of the e-book market and the company alone accounted for almost a dominating eighty percent of e-book sales. The price of an e-book seemed to have settled at $9.99, something that was not to the liking of publishers and also created insecurity amongst them.
Finding no alternative to Amazon’s dominance, the big six publishers, barring one, tied up with Apple’s iBooks store to sell their e-books which will give these publishers some freedom to fix their own pricing. With Apple primarily being a device making company and not into content, this proved to be a win-win situation for Steve Job as he is able to make allies with content partners. Along with the gadgets, he will also have the content to offer its customers.
This is much in contrary to Amazon’s real intentions, to make hard cover books obsolete in the market by selling e-books at rock bottom prices. In fact, they intend to offer e-books at so low costs that people would never again opt for the hard cover versions. This would slowly phase out publishers from the scene and once that happens, they no longer would have to rely on the publishers and would instead connect directly with authors. But Apple’s move has given a new lease of life to publishers by partnering with them and this is compelling Amazon to rethink on its strategy.
Furthermore, publishers have more reason to rejoice as Google also has announced its plans to launch Google Editions, an online e-book store and is slated to happen this summer itself. Similar to Apple, Google too will allow publishers to set their prices and sell their e-books through Google Editions. Dan Clancy will be leading this effort and has reported that approximately twelve million hard cover books have already been digitized. Clancy also quoted that Google has the maximum number of books, far more than Apple and Amazon. Google Editions will also provide bookstores with the opportunity to sell e-books and hence maximizing sales for the store. And perhaps the best thing with Google Edition is that they won’t be tied to any specific device, which means their e-books can be accessed from any device.
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