Google E-Reader by End of Year: WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is close to launching its e-book retail venture. Google Editions could be a significant shift in e-readers and consumer behavior.

There were legal and tech challenges, according to sources, that delayed the release from its summer target.

Publishers have been exchanging files and independent booksellers -- supposedly a big portion of Google Editions -- have been signing contracts.

Sounds like the deal is nigh.

The goal of Editions is a "read anywhere" model. Users purchase books from Google, other retailers or independent booksellers, and then use their Google accounts to consume the goods on laptops, phones, or anywhere else they can log in.

Given Google's enormous scale and size, it could be more than disruptive to the burgeoning e-book readers. It could be downright transformative.

According to Forester Research, digital book sales are expected to more than triple to $966 million this year, up from $301 million in 2009.

They could take the same approach as their search advertising: skim a small portion off a huge volume. Since their model is open to format and server space, it'd be easy to scale this up in a big way.

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