Google takes on rivals

Google
Inc. is penning the next chapter in the story of electronic books.

The
Mountain View, Calif., technology giant unveiled its long-expected “Google
eBooks” platform, an e-book store that contains 3 million volumes, most of
which are free public domain works.

But
hundreds of thousands of Google’s e-books will be paid titles from major and
minor publishers. 

Those
will include many bestsellers and, Google says, the vast majority of books
already commercially available in electronic form.

By
opening its eBookStore, Google is pitting itself squarely against established
digital booksellers, including the market leader Amazon.com and relative
newcomer Apple Inc.  Google’s stated aim — captured by the slogan
“buy anywhere, read anywhere,” is to allow users to purchase and read
books from as many devices as possible.

The
books can be read online — through a new Google reading interface.

 They’ll also work on a number of tablet and
e-reader devices, including Apple’s iPad and iPhone, Android-based smartphones
and tablets, and e-ink devices from Sony and Barnes & Noble.

Amazon
Kindle users will not be able to purchase new books from Google, though the
Kindle will be able to display some of Google’s public domain (non-copyrighted)
books.

Google will sell the books via two main online channels: the first is
its eBookStore, where it will sell directly to consumers and share the proceeds
with publishers. 

 The second is by way of online bookstores that
will add a Google e-book sales widget to their web sites, and split the retail
proceeds with Google.

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