December 6, 2010, 3:53 PM

Google eBookstore is open for business

Google says the new eBookstore is designed to be accessible to most devices.

Lead Photo

Google's new eBookstore is available on most devices with a modern browser.

Consumers can now browse and search through more than 3 million free book titles plus hundreds of thousands for sale from the new Google eBookstore

Google says the new eBookstore  is designed to be open—accessible to most devices with a modern browser including laptops, netbooks, tablets, smartphones and e-readers. That sets it apart from Inc.’s Kindle store, whose electronic books can only be bought through Amazon’s Kindle device, or its Kindle app that runs on smartphones.

Using Google’s new eBooks web reader software, consumers can buy, store and read Google e-books using a free, password-protected Google account with unlimited e-books storage.




In addition to the web reader, free apps for Android and Apple devices enable consumers to shop and read on the go. Consumers can select which font, font size, day/night reading mode and line spacing suits them for many books, and resume reading on the page where they left off when switching devices, Google says.

Book lovers can explore titles and buy new e-books from the Google eBookstore or from one of Google’s independent bookseller partners such as Powell’s Books Inc., No. 364 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, Alibris Inc. (now Monsoon Commerce), No. 116, and participating members of the American Booksellers Association.

The new eBookstore should help Google become a contender in the e-book marketplace “by leveraging a broad content offering, flexible revenue model, and scale provided by search and Android devices,” says Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian, who follows Google and other e-commerce companies.

Sebastian sees the open model as a competitive advantage against Inc., No. 1 in the Top 500 Guide, and Apple Inc., No. 4. “Amazon’s Kindle allows purchases from the Kindle Store whereas Android devices also offer the Kindle app. In a strategy similar to that for the Android platform, Google, in our view, can be expected to seek maximum distribution of its e-books on browsers and a broad range of connected devices, such as smartphones and tablets.”

In May Google announced it would launch its e-book business in a new web venture called Google Editions.  There was no mention of the Editions platform in today’s announcement and Google did not respond to a request for comment.

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