A recent posting from MediaBistro features interesting commentary from Google Books engineering director, Dan Clancy, about Google’s vision for the future of digital books. Mr. Clancy noted that the vision for the future is about new digital books and is separate from Google’s settlement which is its plan for out-of-print books. As noted in a previous posting, Google’s plan has been referred to as Google Editions which will let publishers sell in-print e-books direct to consumers.
Mr. Clancy outlined three requirements for this initiative including – digital books will be stored in the cloud (the books will be stored on a Google server and not on personal computers or devices but users will be able to access their books at anytime), the ability to read Google books on any device, and the ability for Google to partner with all interested retailers so that consumers can buy Google editions of digital books at brick and mortar bookstores and also online.
Mr. Clancy commented on the importance of the ability to buy digital books in bookstores by saying, “Right now the physical bookstores are a critical part of our book ecosystem. A huge amount of books are bought because people go into a physical bookstore and say, hey I want this, I want that. It's a mistake if we think of our future digital world as digital means online and physical means offline. Because if that happens and 10 percent of the world goes digital, that's going to be really hard for all the bookstores to sustain their business model."
An article from Book Business points out that this plan will place Google in between the publishers and the consumers potentially giving them too much control over content and pricing which is also of great concern with Amazon.