One of the big stories out of BookExpo America (BEA), the annual book publishing event held this past weekend at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, was Google's discussions with publishers about its plans for a new e-book program. As Motoko Rich of the New York Times reports, Google intends to launch a program "that would enable publishers to sell digitial verisons of their newest books direct to consumers through Google." Amazon is currently the biggest player in the e-book market, selling editions of most new bestsellers for its Kindle reader. The titles are sold for $9.99, a fixed price that has been criticized by some publishers. Google says it will allow publishers to set their own prices.
In a presentation at BEA, Tom Turvey, director of strategic partnerships at Google, said the company plans to sell online access to digital versions of books, which readers could access using a Web browser or any mobile device with Internet access, such as smart phones. The new program will be separate from Google's book-scanning project, which has already made 1.5 million titles in the public domain available for reading on mobile phones and the Sony Reader.