I agree that if Google Editions offers online-only books - it's impact will be greatly reduced.
In a nutshell, I reckon:
Anything that encourages the ePub format, and brings it a step closer to being the accepted standard (hello, Amazon!?) is a good thing. GE will do that.
Another player in the market – especially one with the clout of the G-men – must encourage price competition.
Inter-device sharing is a VERY good thing. The less locked, DRM-laden devices and platforms the faster the takeup of ebooks in general – a very good thing. It also encourages more competiton, in hardware ebook software and the ebooks themselves.
If Google stand by their “open” stance on books, I wouldn’t expect DRM on these books, but they may be web-only. I think that would greatly diminish the power of the store. Although web-only books make sense for Google, since Chrome is very web-centric, and there are rumours of a Google tablet, which is a guaranteed Chrome device.
Don’t rule out those wily engineers from Mountain View coming up with some other way to allow reasonable cross-device sharing, but discourage rampant distribution of books. Some sort of built-in time-limit timebomb (like libraries use). I don’t know.I
I don’t know how long Amazon can swim against the ePub tide. If you own a Kindle, I’d say firmware update 2.8 or 3.0 might include ePub support.
Full post at my blog ... http://www.bookbee.com.au