Google Plans to Enter the E-book Business

Google plans by the end of the year to give publishers a way to sell online digital versions of their books through a partner program that now allows publishers to submit books for company's search engine results, according to a statement issued Monday.

The move will put the Internet company in direct competition with Amazon.com. It's also part of a Google strategy to promote an open platform for reading and accessing books.

The Google statement comes a day after The New York Times reported that Google was planning to sell e-books online.

In a move that seems to target Amazon.com's Kindle business, Google said in a statement that it wants to build and support a "digital book ecosystem" to allow its partner publishers to make their books available for purchase from any web-enabled device, whether it is a PC, a smart phone, a netbook or a dedicated reading device, the company said.

"Eventually, we hope to extend this functionality to retailers who embed Google Previews on their website," Google said.

E-books downloaded from Amazon.com's Kindle Store can only currently be read by its own reader Kindle, and Apple's iPhone and iPod touch running Kindle software.

Competitor Amazon.com introduced last month a new version of its Kindle reader. The new Kindle DX, with a bigger screen, is designed to better present newspaper and magazine content than earlier versions. The online retailer also said last month it launched a Kindle Store optimized for the Safari web browser on the iPhone. The store has 280,000 e-books for sale.

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