Google's 'open' ebook store to launch before the ball drops

Sometime around the end of this year there'll be a new option for purchasing and reading ebooks: Google Editions. The search giant has indicated that it's all set to go, and is hoping to lure readers to its digital bookstore with the idea of an "open" purchasing model.

To read and purchase a Google Editions ebook, all you'll need is an Internet browser. That means, for example, that you could be at your computer, on a portable device or a tablet — Google Editions will be hardware agnostic. Okay, you may be thinking, that's not all that crazy: ereaders like the Kindle allow you to read your Amazon-bought books across a variety of platforms as well.

The difference here is that your Google ebooks need not be Google-bought. While they'll be tied to your Google profile, the company's usual open source attitude extends to its purchasing model here, too.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

Google Editions hopes to upend the existing e-book market by offering an open, "read anywhere" model that is different from many competitors. Users will be able to buy books directly from Google or from multiple online retailers--including independent bookstores--and add them to an online library tied to a Google account.

How much of a game-changer this turns out to be has yet to be seen. Google is said to already be exchanging files with publishers and independent bookstores, so if it has a pretty strong offering at launch — with ebooks the company says will be priced at around the going rate from rivals Amazon and Barnes & Noble — there doesn't really seem to be any reason not to use Google Editions.

The service is expected to launch at the end of this year in the United States and everywhere else on the early end of 2011.

WSJ, via Engadget

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