Google Play books Now Renting eBooks in South Korea

google play booksGoogle has been renting textbooks in the US and a few other countries since August 2013, and now that short list includes South Korea. According to Yonhap News Agency:

E-book readers can borrow a book via a download of the publication from Google Play, the app store created by the world's No. 1 search engine, Google Korea said in a statement.


AEN20141210006600320_01_i[1]The book is offered at about a third of the selling price for a 180-day rental, and the price varies depending on the period of rental that ranges from 24 hours to 360 days. Google plans to increase the range of publications for rental service in the future, by which it hopes to contribute to the e-book market in Korea, the company said.

The consumer/student rental ebook market is so small that I can't tell you for sure who Google is competing with in South Korea (the institutional, academic, and library market is a separate case). Google's retail competitors in South Korea include Amazon, Apple,  Kobo, as well as local ebook retailers like Kyobo Books.

The demise of Coursesmart last year showed us that there wasn't much of a market for rented ebooks, but that hasn't stopped Google from incorporating it into their education platform, Google Play for Education, in January 2014.

About Nate Hoffelder (11462 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Google Play books Now Renting eBooks in South Korea

  1. “Google’s retail competitors in South Korea include Amazon, Apple, Kobo, as well as local ebook retailers like Kyobo Books.”

    Amazon has an ebook store in South Korea?

  2. Not aware that Amazon actually blocks downloads to Korea (although it does for most of Asia for no obvious reason, so wouldn’t surprise us) but suggesting it is a retail competitor to Google Play is like saying, for example, that Amazon was a retail competitor to Bol in the Netherlands before Kindle NL was brought in.

    Amazon anyway imposes pernicious surcharges on ebook purchases outside the Kindle countries, none of which the author sees. All part of the Bezos author-friendly money-grabbing machine.

    A $2.99 ebook will cost the reader 4.99 in, say, Norway. The author will receive just 35% of the $2.99 as Amazon pays the lower royalty rate on international sales through DotCom. Which means the reader hands over five bucks, the author gets one of them and Amazon pockets the other four. An actual royalty rate of just 20%.

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