Tech Industry

Google remainders its independent e-book resales

Google reps assert that the reseller program hasn't met the needs of readers or booksellers.

Google is nixing the reseller program that falls within the Google Books platform -- effectively cutting off an additional revenue stream (and possible lifeline) for independent booksellers.

Scott Dougall, director of product management and digital publishing at Google, explained on the Google Book Search blog that based on results to-date, "it's clear that the reseller program has not met the needs of many readers or booksellers."

This change will help us focus on building the best ebooks experience we can across hundreds of devices with millions of books. Books will continue to be a major content pillar alongside apps, music and movies in the Google Play store. And -- regardless of where they bought them -- customers will still be able to access and read their ebooks on the web, phones, tablets and compatible eReaders.

Google has sixteen reseller partners, all of whom will still be highlighted in the "Buy This Book" section of Google Book search and have access to free Books APIs. PaidContent pointed out that more than 350 independent booksellers that are members of the American Booksellers Association also participate in the program and sell e-books on their sites.

Given that Google wasn't satisfied with results from the reseller program -- whatever they might have been as they weren't officially revealed -- it's also evident that Google is taking another approach and going full-throttle with the digital bookstore on the new Google Play platform.

Thus, it makes sense to reroute all available resources there if it wants to seriously compete with the likes of Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, among others.

However, given that Google is walking away from this project, that leaves the debate open over whether or not one of its competitors can improve upon the idea. After all, based on the ABA letter published by PaidContent, it looks like there is still wide interest from independent booksellers across the country.

Meanwhile in other e-book business news, Apple is mixed up in an e-book legal battle of its own over fixed pricing for digital books. A few other publishing houses involved in the joint U.S.-E.U. investigation are likely choosing to settle, while Apple and a couple of others continue to fight antitrust claims.

This item first appeared on ZDNet's Between the Lines blog under the headline "Google nixes independent e-book reseller program."