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UPDATED: June 2, 2009
Google to Sell E-books in 2009
Google plans to launch a program of selling e-books later this year

Google plans to launch a program of selling e-books later this year, a move to compete with e-commerce leader Amazon.com Inc., the company confirmed Monday.

Google stated that it aims to build a "digital book ecosystem" to allow publishing partners to sell access to their titles, even if buyers don't have dedicated book readers.

Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker said "by end of this year, we want to build and support a digital book ecosystem to allow our partner publishers to make their books available for purchase from any Web-enabled device."

A key difference between Google and Amazon would be that the search giant aims to let Google Book Search users "buy access" to copyrighted books with any Web-enabled computer, e-reader or mobile phone.

The spokesman also said consumers would not be able to download books in the same way Amazon's customers can buy copies of specific titles and store them on their Kindle. Instead, people who access books through Google would be able to read titles online and temporarily cache them in their Internet browsers so they could also read them offline.

The advantage for google is its vast reach on the Internet because it could in theory highlight relevant books for sale every time a consumer punches in a search query.

Publishers will be allowed to set their own prices, although google reserved the right to discount titles at its own expense, said the company. Amazon typically charges consumers 9.99 dollars per e-book.

Google said it was still in talks with publishers and specific details of the project remain to be determined.

(Xinhuanet June 2, 2009)

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