Google Editions: Divide And Conquer

The e-reading battle is raging hot, and while statistics ostensibly showing an insurgent iPad should be taken with a grain of salt, the volatility of the market is plain to see. The Kindle has made the most of an early lead, and promises to be a highly popular gift item. The Nook Color is receiving encouraging reviews and has just been rooted, rendering it a thrifty choice for tablet shoppers. Color e-ink is on the horizon. It’s a glorious time to be an e-book seller.

So it’s no surprise that Google is jumping into the fray with the long-awaited Google Editions service, set to launch by the end of the year in the U.S. and first quarter of 2011 internationally. But between Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and independent publishing services like Amazon’s DTP and the unfortunately-named Pubit, is there room for another player? Not that that’s ever stopped anyone from trying — but I think in this case it may be that Google brings something new to the table: decentralization.

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