News24

Google opens e-book store

2010-12-06 20:11

San Francisco - Internet giant Google opened an online electronic bookstore on Monday in a heavyweight entry into a booming market long dominated by Kindle-maker Amazon.

Google eBookstore was being rolled out in the United States featuring the Mountain View, California-based company's massive library of digitised works online at books.google.com.

"We believe it will be the world's largest e-books library," said Google spokesperson Jeannie Hornung. "Including the free books, there are more than three million."

Hundreds of thousands of digital books will be for sale in the eBookstore, which Google said will expand internationally next year.

Google e-books will be kept online in the internet "cloud" and be available for reading from any web-linked computer or using free applications on mobile gadgets such as smartphones running Apple software or Google's Android.

People will be able to "sideload" books equipped with anti-piracy software on to dedicated reading devices made by Sony and other firms, Hornung said.

Amazon's Kindle was not on the list of Google-friendly e-readers.

Google believes that most people will prefer to log in and read their books online from whichever gadget is most convenient at a given moment, in a manner similar to the way people check web-based Gmail accounts.

"You will be able to store the books in a library in the cloud and use your Google account to access them from anywhere using the internet," Hornung said. "It will be a page-turning experience with flowing text."

"I believe that years from now we will buy e-books from any bookstore, keep them all in a virtual bookshelf, and read them on any device," said James Crawford, engineering director for Google Books. "This moment is the beginning of that vision."