By Hannah Johnson
Yesterday, Google announced the launch of its eBookstore (formerly Google Editions). This e-commerce platform offers browser-based reading on PCs and downloads to mobile and reading devices. Google also encourages partnership agreements with third-party websites to sell their e-books.
Today, Amazon announced that its two-month-old beta project, Kindle for the Web, will soon allow users to read and buy Kindle books through a web browser. It also features an embeddable widget that enables any website owner to offer Kindle books through their own websites. These website owners earn money through referral fees offered by the Amazon Associates Program. Amazon’s press release says, “Every Website can Now be a Bookstore.”
Previously, Kindle for the Web was only enabled for reading sample chapters from Kindle books. Now it looks like a closer iteration of Google eBooks. Amazon did not announce an definitive launch date, but did say that these new features will be available “in the coming months.”
Ironically, Amazon demonstrated Kindle for the Web at Google’s Chrome event today, where Google also unveiled the Chrome Web Store, an app store specifically for Google’s Chrome web browser. Amazon’s Kindle for the Web will be available through the Chrome Store.
Was it Google who jumped the gun by launching its eBookstore a day before the Chrome event? Or was it Amazon who hurried pushed the announcement of Kindle for the Web forward in order to keep pace with Google?
Both companies are relying on the speed and ease of digital distribution, and the participation of third-party websites, to earn a larger share of the fast-growing e-book market.