Google is now looking at opening what they call ‘Google Edition’ in which they will be offering from 400,000 to 600,000 eBooks in the first half of 2010. You will not need to be connected to the Internet to read a book after it has been accessed once. This cloud of books will not be dependent on any eReader or device, giving the repository flexibility.

In a recent news article it also states that:

Although not specified, it seems probable that the offline caching done by Google Editions will be made possible via Google Gears, a browser extension that allows website content to be taken offline and then re-synced when an Internet connection returns

As a side note I use Google Gears here on my web site at Lockergnome and it works well.

As noted on The Bookseller, a site covering the Tools of Change conference, Google Editions will offer three business models. The first will allow a consumer to purchase the ebook from Google Books, Google’s online collection of digitized books. The second will allow consumers to purchase from a partner retailer and the third would direct consumers to a publisher’s website. In the first route, payments are split 63/37 in the publisher’s favor. If purchasing from a retailer, that split would be 45/55 with the 45% going to the publisher and the retailer splitting the remaining 55% with Google. No decision has been made on the split for the third option, purchases made via a publisher’s own website. Edmonds also noted that these splits are not set in stone just yet – discussions were “just beginning.” In addition, Google may discount books from their list price where permitted, but the discount would be taken from Google’s profits and not anyone else’s.

So there you have it. It would appear that Google is serious about this new project that has been in the works for many years.

Comments welcome.