Here is the latest info I could find on Google Editions (after a fairly quick search):
Book industry wholesalers, such as Ingram and Baker & Taylor (the two largest in the US), only sell to retailers and libraries, usually at about a 40% discount from list price. The retailers then sell those books to consumers at full list price, or at whatever discount or markup from the list price they choose. Thus, a traditional wholesaler does not cut into full-price sales by either the retailers they sell to, or the publishers who sell to the wholesaler (assuming the publisher sells direct to consumers; some do, some don’t). If Google sells books direct to consumers they will be competing with their own trading partners. They will probably also be getting larger profits from sales to consumers than sales to retailers.
It is unclear from this article whether Google plans to sell the so-called orphan works in their new bookstore, or the new books they scanned whose copyright holders opted out of the Settlement.
Neither publishers nor authors really need Google Editions. Anyone can sell an e-book through Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and other formats and venues. Absolutely any publisher can sell an e-book, print book, and/or audio book to Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble online, either via a direct contract with the retailer or through a wholesaler. (They accept pretty much any and every book, though Amazon did recently pull some kiddy porn from their list after protests.) Ingram sells e-books and audio books (as well as an enormous number of print books) and provides a print-on-demand service. B & T definitely sells print books and probably sells e-books, but I don’t sell through them any more so I’m not positive. Print-on-demand is available through a number of vanity/subsidy press publishers, but also (cheaper and just as good) from various companies that do straightforward printing.
There are a great many other book distributors and retailers on the web, also publisher websites where the publisher does direct sales. Most of them appear in any search engine search, and are also listed with mega-book-search services such as www.addall.com.
The current, opt-in Google Book Search is no sales miracle. There are so many other places to look for books that customers do not use it by default—Amazon is much more popular. Note, by the way, Amazon’s Search Inside feature contains the whole book, BUT it is fully opt-in and opting in is by no means required in a contract with them.
Why the ABA thinks they really need Google is beyond me, unless they figured Google would just sell copyrighted books without permission anyway.