Friday, February 4, 2011

Google and the e-book/e-reader market

Expectations that Google will soon enter the tablet and e-reader space continue. The company's recent acquisition of EBook Technologies fuels this speculation, as noted in one article that details the acquisition. Google's ebookstore, their recent partnership with the ABA, and other initiatives to help make local book retailers more visible in searches, suggest that Google could be a friend to book retailers in a way other large online sources for books are not. There is an opportunity here for retailers to capitalize on what Google could do for them to both retain and regain market share.

The question will be, perhaps, whether booksellers enamored of older print technologies will be nimble and open enough to take advantage of some of the opportunities presented by new technologies -- or if they will buy into the conventional wisdom that the local bookseller will go the way of the local music store. As one of my colleagues in the bookstore industry is fond of saying, "Some folks will drown because when you throw them a life preserver they want one that is square or blue, rather than the one that you are throwing them that happens to be round or yellow."

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