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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.

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Publishers, Who’s Your Customer? | Digital Book World December 11, 2014 um 8:07 am

[…] Google Takes Rental Ebooks to South Korea (The Digital Reader) To put it mildly, the market for rented ebooks hasn’t quite taken off, but some are continuing to experiment with the model nonetheless. In the latest move in that direction, Google Play expands its rental offering to South Korea. […]

Ebook Bargains UK December 11, 2014 um 10:26 am

"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?

Nate Hoffelder December 11, 2014 um 10:45 am

Well, not a local store, but are you saying that Amazon doesn’t sell ebooks in South Korea? That’s a surprise.

Ebook Bargains UK December 12, 2014 um 12:56 pm

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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