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Description: Google entered the crowded Canadian e-book market Tuesday, launching an online store that will compete for readers against established giants Amazon and Kobo.

Source: Globe and Mail .com

Date: Nov 1, 2011

Coady’s book was listed at $28.84 through Google, but was more than $10 cheaper on Kobo’s store. Vanderhaeghe’s book was $14.39 through Google, and more than $5 less on Kobo.

Still, Google is counting on the fact that its broad selection and versatility will persuade Canadian customers to give its new service a chance.

“We do offer a massive catalogue of books, so for most people there will be more choice for books, we also support a broader range of reading devices,” Dougal said. “We have every major publisher in Canada and a lot of very small Canadiana publishers. We’re very aggressive about finding every single book that we can find.”  Read Rest of Story

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you feel that Google has a competitive advantage in this market?

2.  What is Google’s competitive strategy and what is the source of that competitive advantage?

9 Responses to “Google jumps into Canadian e-book business”

  1. Erin

    Google has an advantage over other e-retailers in the amount of books that it offers. When shopping on other eReader sites, mainly Kobo, I have found that many of the books that I search for are not on the site, about half probably. I have not tried Google’s yet, but it sounds like the are working to get as many books as they can, and are doing it far quicker than the other sites. This, and their ability to be read on almost any form of tablet, gives them a advantage over the other eReader sites. Though there prices are higher, customers may start to choose them because of their wide variety, and for Google’s well known name for everything internet already. As paper books become more a thing of the past, Google will be able to establish a greater niche in the market place. Right now many people choose eReaders for convenience when travelling, and because they feel that they are more environmentally friendly. Though this might not actually be true, it is the general consensus.

  2. Ivette

    Google’s competitive advantage is differentiation. The company is offering features to consumers that had not been offered by the other e-book providers before in order to gain market share and a broader customer base.
    I think Google does have an advantage in this market especially because of the popularity of its services and the acceptance that users have towards everything that is Google related. The e-book market offers Google a new opportunity of expanding its business and increasing sales. The biggest feature that differentiates Google and the one I think will make them more attractive to the public is the fact that books come in open format and will give users access to the Google cloud so that they can access their books from anywhere. When compared to the other book providers, Google is placing itself in a very strategic position in the market. With the increasing and never ending growth of technology, people are switching to what’s more convenient, easier and efficient. Google’s price disadvantage can become less relevant if they offer a more premium service and make sure customers are satisfied. Also, the great variety of books Google has, including the ones for free, might attract more customers because customers know they will be more likely to find everything they are looking for in one spot.

  3. Cam

    Google has a distinct competitive advantage compared with its competition. Firstly its books are open format, meaning that they are available to be read on many different devices. Google e books differs from competition Kobo and Amazon e books by allowing customers to read their books on whatever they desire whereas Amazon and Kobo require users to purchase specific e readers. Secondly it has acquired large partnerships with major publishers allowing for them to have a much larger selection of books for its users. As described in the article “Google jumps into Canadian e-book business”, Google’s competitive strategy is to allow the user the freedom to read e-books on whatever they want intern allowing them to charge more per book thus making up over time what there competition is selling their e-readers for. I believe that it is possible going forward that Google will push out competition that does not go to open format simply because for me ease of access and use out weighs having to purchases an e-reader to get books for cheaper.

  4. Helen

    Yes I feel that Google has a competitive advantage in this market. Through the use of the cloud, purchased information is available to the reader anywhere on any type of advice. Having to purchase a costly device as well as books and then only being able to acess those books on that device is extremely limiting. While Google does charge a higher price for some of their books, the convenience far outstrips their lower priced competitiors. Google is also a highly used service trusted by consumers.
    Also, because of the partnerships they have with many different publishing houses they have a great deal of selection. Whether or not the convienience of ebooks will out weigh the lure of traditional books is another debate. However, it does encompus an entire other market to consider. Google can often be thought to be the leading competitor on the internet. It is user friendly and offers a wide variaty. Googles popularity enables them to move mountains. Their competitors suffer a severe disadvantage. The extreme vastness of devices able to store data as well as download, places Google at the head of the pack. Both these things combined give Google an advantage over their other competitors such as Amazon’s Kindle.

  5. Meagan

    I believe Google does have a competitive advantage. The main reason is because it’s new, most people like to try something because it’s just come out and they want to experience it first and they want to compare it and look more into it. This is where a customer will either find that they like it or that it’s just not for them. Those customers who liked it will support it and will tell others about it. This can also be access on smart phones and tablets. This can make its easily accessible and portable, which is a plus for most consumers. Also when you buy the software you don’t necessarily have to buy one of their devices to run it on, which will save you money and the hassle of buying something else and risk having to pay more for something that should be free anyways. They have also teamed up with two Canadian bookstores so that you can buy from those bookstores instead of Google, so you are helping those smaller companies who you might not have heard of that need the profit more than Google. This makes Google look better than those other companies because it’s not only in it so that they can make money but also so they can help other bookstores get there business out there.

  6. Destiny S

    Google’s foray into the e-book market should prove to be quite successful. While Amazon and other major competitors have similar pricing on some products, Google can still offer most books at lower prices. Google is boasting a very broad selection and versatility. This diverse approach has Google approaching smaller publishing companies along with major publishing houses. Furthermore, these e-books are accessible on Apple products, computers/laptops, e-readers, and smart phones, allowing your purchase to be viewed an unlimited amount of times from anywhere in the world at any time. Despite some individuals wanting the hard copy of the book they purchase, Google’s e-book service will succeed for the aforementioned reasons. Do not be surprised if Google eventually enters a market similar to Amazon, where they are able to have a storefront capable of drop shipping almost any item imaginable along with your order of hard copy books. It should also be noted that, although the selection is limited, Google does offer some free e-books for download. E-books are undoubtedly the way of the future for many people, and Google will likely capitalize on this market.

  7. Antonio Raho

    Personally, I do not believe that Google has a competitive advantage in the E-Book market. My mother, girlfriend and girlfriends mom, all own sony E-Books and/or an iPad. For the three of them, price is the number one seller on the books. All three of them compare the prices of their books on the Sony Library, Kobo site, and various other E-Book providers. Where I believe other E-Books providers have the advantage, is that they are selling books for their devices, which is likely what the individual will be reading their books on, so the availability of an open format from Google E-Books isn’t that beneficial. I know that personally, I find it difficult to read off of a computer screen and focus for that long as compared to reading off of paper or an E-Ink screen. Also, if I were to be purchasing a book for a sony E-Reader, I likely wouldn’t want to read the book on my computer or my cell phone, so the benefit of an open format wouldn’t really affect me. One thing that this article leaves out is that individuals who are owners of sony E-Readers can purchase books from the Kobo book store and the formatting is compatible with both devices. The same is available vice versa. In conclusion, I do not find it beneficial to spend $5-10 extra to be able to read my book on an iPad, Computer, Smartphone, e-reader etc. when I am likely to be looking to read the book on the device intended for e-book reading, and for this reason I don’t believe that Google has a competitive edge in the E-Book market.

  8. Jillian K

    In my opinion the basis of Google’s competitive advantage in this industry is the open format. More and more people are carrying around tablets, laptops and smart phones and less people are buying actual books. Devices like Amazon’s Kindle were very clever at first, but the vast array of smart phone and tablet technology that people are purchasing now means that your best bet for success is being available for use on every channel. The computer market is split between MacBooks and all different brands of PCs. The mobile phone market is made up of Iphones, Blackberries, and Androids in all different varieties. Even the tablet world isn’t just dominated by Apple anymore. Regardless of the fact that their prices are currently higher, the versatility of buying a book, having it available on a cloud and being able to read it from any one of your devices is something that puts Google a mile ahead of their competitors. They really redefine convenience.

  9. Hassan Al Sarrar

    I find Google has competitive advantages in this industry of eBooks. Most companies involving this business usually concentrate on on-store sales rather than having their stocks online. Therefore, Google has come up with new attracting method for interested consumers, which is the opportunity to obtain your book from the cloud. That means no matter where you are or what device you are using, you still have an access to your book and worriless for any other charges for other software or devices that you need to read your book. Google also one of the most popular search engines, and due to its popularity, it will market for this market easier than other companies with reduced advertising expenses. Google also is looking for possible publishers in order to partner with them and buy titles from them even though Google already has agreed with large publications to offer their works through its new eBook services. Although Google is selling its books with higher prices than similar businesses in this market, but it is selling you a final product for end user without any other additions such as, software or programs, in order to facilitate the use of the book where you might encounter such charges if you buy your book from other businesses.

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