Google is on the march again - with plans to be selling eBooks by the end of 2010. They hope to scoop business from Amazon and Apple and I think they have every chance of success. Google Books is a really great service and it will surely be linked to Google Editions. I have not tried Apple's service but I have not been at all happy with Amazon's service, either as a reader or a publisher. My guess is that you will be able to preview some of a book's content on Google Books then lash out some cash and see the rest of the book whenever you are logged into your Gmail account.
It is believed Google will pay publishers 63% of revenues and keep 37% for itself when e-books are sold directly to consumers. Publishers will like having 63% of the revenue much more than having 50% (which is what they get from retailers). But will they keep the extra 13% for themselves or will they share it with authors? I think they will want to keep it. But authors will be able to sell their own books directly on Google Editions and, presumably, get 63% of the revenue. My guess is they will like this much more than the 10% +/- they currently get from publishers. It looks like a 6-fold rise to me!
Another interesting aspect of Google Editions is the deal for an equavalent of Amazon Affiliates. Website publishers are going to be able to get eBook revenue from material promoted on their websites.
Will they have a deal for libraries? It would be a great thing for a University Library, for example, to be able to give its students full access, from home, to all the world's books. Ditto for municipal libraries. BUT I have not seen any deals of this type for access to movies and music, which have long been available in physical libraries.
All-in-all I am expecting the biggest shakeup to the book market since Amazon went live. Google Editions will of course be available in colour for the Android tablets which are waiting to engulf the market. Apple are said to be the BMW of the phone/pad market. They could find themselves as the Rolls Royces of this market before long. I hope so!