The two sites went live today and will bring “hundreds of thousands” of ebooks to Australian customers. A search of the Dymocks site shows 148,000 titles already in the catalogue including many from Australia’s top publishers. Dymocks plans to integrate Google Ebooks into its BookLovers rewards programme so that ebook purchases earn credits that can be spent online or in-store on digital or printed books.
Google’s Australian launch will soon include partnerships with university bookseller The Co-op Bookshop and bookselling chain QBD. And it comes just a day before another offering comes to market. High-profile indie bookseller Pages & Pages kicks off a series of launches from indie booksellers who are adopting the made-in-Australia “social eReading software” ReadCloud.
Google’s Australian move follows its opening in the past month of UK and Canadian ebookstores. Its strategy is to sell through partners as well as selling directly from its own site, Google Ebookstore, and via its iOS, web and Android apps. In choosing its early partners, Google is focusing on quality operators with bookselling experience, making it a direct rival of Canadian operator Kobo.
However, in one respect they’re different: so far, we haven’t seen a Google-branded ebook reader backing its offer. Google has also been much slower than Kobo in doing deals with ebook manufacturers to make it their preferred ebookstore. So far, a deal with minor player iriver back in July is the only one that Google has done. This mirrors the cautious approach Google took with its Android smartphone where it initially worked with a single partner HTC.
We can expect things to change now that Google has bedded in its systems and is developing broader distribution. It will have an added incentive to quicken the pace with the announcement from US number two ebookseller Barnes & Noble that it will be rolling out its successful Nook internationally in 2012.
Meanwhile, in that far outpost of Australia, New Zealand, we’re yet to see Google Ebooks and Google representative Mark Tanner confirms there’s nothing to announce at this stage. Dymocks is active in New Zealand but its Australian store is off-limits to New Zealand customers and Google’s own app is yet to appear in Apple’s New Zealand App store. Indeed, we’re still waiting for Apple’s iBookstore to open to New Zealand consumers, a year after it reached Australia. So for now, Kindle and Kobo, the latter through local bookselling chain Whitcoulls, remain the only major players for Kiwi readers.