Google to Expand to Periodicals?

Google to Expand to Periodicals?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is looking to sell more than just books. Apparently, they also want to sell newspapers and magazines, probably as a way to offer more content to the slew of Android tablets coming out this year!

According to the WSJ:

Google has discussed its intentions with a range of publishers, including Time Warner Inc.’s Time Inc. unit, Condé Nast and Hearst Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. The three publishers declined to comment on any talks.

In recent weeks, these people say, Google has told publishers it would take a smaller slice on any sales they make of Android apps than the 30% cut Apple typically takes on iTunes sales. Google has also proposed giving publishers certain personal data about app buyers to help with marketing related products or services.

Inside Google, the e-newsstand initiative is being spearheaded by Stephanie Tilenius, its vice president of e-commerce, according to two people familiar with the matter.

“We’ve consistently said we’re talking with publishers about ways we can work together, including whether we can help them with technology for subscription services. We have nothing specific to announce at this time,” Google said in a statement.

Granted, this could just be another of Google’s pipe dreams. Or it could be a yawner like Google Books. But with Zinio MIA on the Android front, there’s a big hole that could be filled by individual publishers. Plus the iPad has reportedly been something of a disappointment with respect to periodicals; after the initial “oooh, I can read Wired on my iPad” uptick sales have been less than impressive. It’s been a very hard road for periodicals and newspapers looking to go the e-route, so finding a new digital partner isn’t a bad thing.

On the other hand, by the time Google manages to line up contracts for magazines on Android, they’ll be competing with newer and better versions of the Kindle, NOOK, and Kobo Reader app. All three offer periodicals already, and while they’re limited now it’s reasonable to assume there will be major improvements as the apps and Android evolve.

How do you feel about Google selling magazines and newspapers? Are you excited, or will you still be rocking back and forth holding out for Zinio or another competitor?

Via the Wall Street Journal

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About the Author

Zek has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to their first PDA (a Palm M100). They quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. They love writing about ebooks because they combine their two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?

2 Comments on "Google to Expand to Periodicals?"

  1. Christopher Gavula | January 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm |

    It could be interesting if they get it right. The “failure” of periodicals to ignite on iOS devices I think can be attributed to a couple of things: The lack of a consistent experience (like the way iBooks, or purchasing music, movies, or apps works), and price. It’s confusing having some periodicals available in Zinio, but some appear as apps (I HATE searching for books and magazines as apps!) and some appear in other ways such as through the Kindle store. These different access methods leave me with a disjointed feel to the whole thing. Worse than that – people are unwilling to pay prices that are frequently HIGHER than a paper subscription costs. Until the publishers resolve these things, the acceptance rate will be limited regardless of the platform or who offers it. If Google can bring the price point down and they can make the experience smooth and consistent, they could end up with a winner.

    Hopefully, they won’t repeat the experience that Google Books is currently giving us. For me, at least, it’s not only a yawn, but it’s a FAIL. Why? Because there are books I bought on their store that will NOT display correctly (many graphics/tables are missing) within the Google Books app (or on their web reader for that matter), but they WILL display correctly if I use Bluefire Reader to view them. That is NOT a good way to start up a service! If they can launch a service that actually works correctly out of the chute and is a good value proposition, I believe people WILL patronize it.

  2. [] Google to Expand to Periodicals? (Gear Diary): (image courtesy Magazine Template) The Wall S… #google

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