Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Simon Buckingham of talks about the future of ebooks following the launch of Google eBookstore

This is getting to be a very interesting week in the ebook marketplace, following the launch of Google eBookstore on Monday.

How the new eBookstore will shape the future of ebooks is still unknown, but we (as everyone else) are still very curious about it, so we asked one of the experts in the ebook industry, Simon Buckingham, founder and CEO of to share with us his thoughts on the new eBookstore and its influence on the market.

Hello Simon. What do you think would be the most significant influence of the new Google eBookstore on the ebook marketplace?
While the Nook, Sony Reader and other e-readers have been moderately successful, Amazon has largely dominated the ebook marketplace. Is Amazon's ebook model the best one for consumers? We don't know because Amazon and the Kindle have not faced stiff competition. If successful, the most significant accomplishment of Google Editions will be that it brought healthy competition to the ebook marketplace.

You mention that "Google Editions, like Appitalism, is platform and device agnostic and that freedom gives consumers access to their e-books from any device with internet connectivity", which is true to all devices except the Kindle - who do you think it hurts more - Amazon or Google?
This is not necessarily an either/or scenario. If you look to the mobile market, both the iPhone and the devices powered by Android are wildly successful. Similarly, I think there is enough space in the future of ebooks for both Amazon and Google to co-exist amidst healthy competition.

What will be the influence of Google eBookstore on online sellers such as Appitalism?
If Google eBo
okstore is successful, consumers will increasingly feel more comfortable purchasing ebooks from a wide variety of sites, including Appitalism. The ebook marketplace is expanding rapidly and bringing new consumers into the fold is beneficial for all ebook retailers

Do you think the collaboration of Google with the independent bookstores can help them to thrive? Can it help them to transform their brick and mortar bookstores back into an asset?
The independent bookstores certainly feel like in aggregate they can leverage Google's resources to help them compete with larger chain stores and I am inclined to agree. Independent bookstores are closing across the country, so it is wise for them to innovate using Google. They have little to lose and everything to gain. Google eBookstore is not a panacea however, and I'm leery of anyone who thinks Google eBookstore alone will restore the health and viability of local independent bookstores.

What will be considered by Google a success here? How do they plan to achieve it?
The first mark that must be met is sustainability and viability. Google's model is untested and there are plenty of pitfalls, including publishers unwilling to agree to Google's term for example. It doesn't have to be pretty, but if Google can simply keep Google eBookstore functional and even somewhat competitive over the next 12 months, they have the resources to help the venture grow quickly. As with all things Google, they plan to achieve success by employing the smartest people and having a ton of funding.

In all, is last Monday going to be remembered as a milestone in the book marketplace or just as a day when another new online bookstore was launched?
Google Editions was launched without much pump, but if this model proves to be successful then I think it would help revolutionize digital content and truly bring it to the masses. In retrospect this launch could be Google's most important - for revolutionizing the way we acquire and read content.

Will you buy ebooks at the new store?
Of course! As an entrepreneur and CEO of a digital content provider, I would be remiss not to test out Google's new offering. I am interested to see the user interface, the ease of use and plenty of other aspects of the business.

Why would a consumer choose Appitalism for their ebooks?
Just like you don't shop at Costco because you want Coke, you wouldn't shop at Appitalism just because you want ebooks. I want consumers to choose to come to Appitalism for ebooks, music, apps and digital content because they know that across the board we deliver the best possible value and service.

What types of ebooks are available on Appitalism?
Appitalism carries content from all of the major publishers as well as a large number of independent publishers. Our catalog has all the classic books you would expect and the library is regularly updated with the newest releases. Our books are all in ePub format and so can be read on almost any device (excluding the Kindle).

Thank you, Simon!

About combines a social community with an online store, enabling consumers to discover, discuss and download digital media from a catalog of over ten million premium apps, songs, books, games and videos compatible with a broad range of digital devices including smartphones, tablets, PCs and eBook readers. Simply put, there is no better way to discover and download apps and digital content than on

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!