Publishers Tell Google and Their Ebook Plans to Get Bent

The vision of ebooks Google has presented to publishers: allowing people to print copies, cut and paste portions, and paying publishers 63 percent of the revenue. The vision the publishers presented in return: Go eff yourself.

That's right, Google's finally getting around to opening an ebook store too—called Google Editions, and it's been in the works for a while—the idea being that people will be able to read the books on any internet-connected device.

What's incredible is how the Times says negotiations are now proceeding. Now that Apple and Amazon are fighting over publishers and their books—imagine how oh-so-hotly desired they must suddenly feel—publishers have real power to negotiate, and it comes with wondrous effects, like getting an information monolith like Google to actually back down. There will be no printing, no cutting and pasting. And 70 percent, like what Apple and Amazon are now offering, is apparently starting to sound dandier to Google. Another point Google gave in on, surprisingly, is search. Previously, they planned to make up to 20 percent of every book they sold through the store searchable, but that wasn't kosher with some of the publishing execs, so now they can choose to opt out of search.

Google finally jumping into selling ebooks, with the idea of being the ebook seller to everyone—or at least, everyone not toting a special reading device, just your average thing with a screen and internet access—could definitely shake things up even more than they already are. And you know, a Chrome OS tablet with an ebook store would be slightly more interesting as a cheaper iPad rival.

Publishers should enjoy the attention, and power, while it lasts. Because it won't. [NYT]