According to the Wall Street Journal, Google unveiled plans to release a new ebook store called Google Editions at a book industry event today in New York. The company hopes to offer a competitive offering to rival ebook stores such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple’s iBookstore. Based on the article, they hope to offer several ways to access their ebooks using a range of devices, which most likely includes Google’s Android. The service will function as an extension of their existing book search feature, and according to early reports last year there will be 600,000 titles available at launch.

Besides offering the option to buy books through Google’s Book Search service, the article also claims that they will also provide book retailers to option to sell Google Editions directly on their own websites. This would give them a larger presence for their ebook store, and make it easy for authors and publishers to promote the service. They also plan to offer two different revenue models, one for big publishers, and one for smaller independent book stores. Under the first revenue model, 63 percent of the book sales would go to the publisher, while Google gets the rest. The other model offers 45 percent revenue to publishers, giving the rest to independent book store after paying a small fee to Google.

There is no word on how they plan to price ebooks sold on Google Editions. They could leave it up to the publishers or perhaps push their own pricing models. Publishers have recently become more aggressive with ebook stores, and Amazon caved under pressure with their Kindle store. Another question is how will Google Editions work as an ebook store? They will most likely have a website for reading the books, but what devices will they write special apps for? Will it be available on the iPad and iPhone, or will it be strictly an Android thing? I guess we will find out this summer when the Google Editions ebook store launches.