THE ECONOMIST recently ran an article [economist.com] about Google Digital Editions, a new e-book service that Google will launch in 2010. I hadn't given it much thought until an author friend told me about the contract terms he'd been offered by Google after submitting his book (which already exists in print and has been scanned by Google Books).
My friend, who's very publishing-savvy, was pleased by the contract terms, which give him 63 percent of any sales made directly by Google and 45 percent of any sales made by resellers. Royalties are even based on the list price (not the net price) if an author's e-books are sold at a discount. What's more, the author gets to set the price and define the territory where the book is available, and--if he changes his mind--he can cancel the contract at any time.
According to THE ECONOMIST--and to judge from my publishing-savvy author friend's reaction--Google Digital Editions could give Amazon a run for its money while providing a healthy boost to the e-book market.