February 1, 2011, 12:00 AM

Following its launch of eBookstore, Google buys an e-book publisher

Following its launch of eBookstore, Google buys an e-book publisher.

In a move that will help it compete with Amazon.com Inc., Google Inc. has acquired e-book publishing assets that could make it a more formidable retailer of electronic books. Last month Google purchased for an undisclosed sum eBook Technologies, a company that sells technology used to operate digital reading devices, along with related publishing tools and software.

"Working together with Google will further our commitment to providing a first-class reading experience on emerging tablets, e-readers and other portable devices," eBook Technologies said.

The acquisition came about five weeks after Google opened its eBookstore e-commerce site, where consumers can access more than 3 million free books, and purchase hundreds of thousands more titles. Consumers can download content using a variety of devices, unlike Amazon's Kindle store where only readers who have Kindle digital readers or the Kindle mobile app can access books.

Google bought eBook Technologies to gain the company's patents, software, employees and hardware, says Dmitriy Molchanov, an analyst who covers e-books for Yankee Group. Among other assets, the company has developed software that enables online shoppers to organize and share their favorite e-books in a virtual bookshelf. The technology is similar to that provided by Shelfari, which Amazon bought in 2008.

thad@verticalwebmedia.com

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