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It's On: Google Promises E-Book Store Launch This Summer

Google let slip at a book industry event Tuesday that Google Editions could be a month away from launch.

Google

Google unveiled its plans during a Tuesday book industry event in New York, as reported by The Wall Street Journal and other outlets. According to the Journal , the event, sponsored by the Book Industry Study Group in New York and held at the Manhattan offices of Random House, offered a glimpse of how Google wants to sell e-books using its cloud model.

Google has for a few months touted Google Editions as its answer to e-book marketplaces propagated by Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others, but Tuesday was the first time Google publicly disclosed a timetable for launch.

Previous mentions of Google Editions had Google stating it plans to have about 500,000 items available for download at the bookstore's launch date. The goal, according to Google, is for readers to download books using Google Editions onto the device of their choosing, be it a tablet computer, desktop PC, smartphone or dedicated e-reader.

It's a broader approach than that favored by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, which distribute e-books to the Kindle and Nook e-readers and Kindle and Nook applications for computers and mobile devices. Another key difference is that Google, in addition to the main Google Editions store, will allow other booksellers and publishers to host Google Editions shops on their own web sites.

Requests for additional comment by CRN to Google weren't immediately returned Tuesday.

According to the Journal, Google hasn't yet disclosed whether it will allow publishers to set retail prices for e-books, as Apple recently did for its iBookstore.

The impending launch of Google Editions comes as speculation grows over Google's plans for a tablet PC of its own, to compete with Apple's iPad and, where e-reading is concerned, the dedicated e-readers from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Plastic Logic and other vendors. Google tablet rumors have been circulating for months.

Google Editions will also arrive as Google continues to be at loggerheads with various publishing entities over its controversial Google Books project. In early April, a group of trade associations representing illustrators and photographers added to the fracas, filing a class-action lawsuit against Google for including their work in Google Books without permission.

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