Google opened an eBook store in December, which Vlahos of the booksellers association praised as a valuable addition to the marketplace. Synonymous with internet searching, Google has positioned itself as a bridge between different kinds of devices and retailers, a peacemaker on the eBook battlefield.
Some publishers and booksellers would like more noise, though.
Brian Murray of HarperCollins says he’s disappointed with Google sales, which even Google acknowledges have been small so far. At an information session hosted by Google, booksellers questioned the company’s aversion to advertising.
Google’s director of strategic partnerships, Tom Turvey, says that spending “lots and lots” of money on ads was unlikely. But he noted that the store was relatively new, and he was confident that sales would increase as more readers learned about it, whether online, through an eBook device, or through the bookstores promoting it.
Michael Norris of Simba criticized Google for not having “thought out their eBook strategy all the way through.” But Turvey said the Google store was evolving as planned.
“My entire team comes from the book business,” says Turvey, a former director of online sales and marketing at HarperCollins. “We understand the issues extremely well.”