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Google Editions E-Book Store Launching This Summer

Google Editions eBook StoreReports from a publishing industry event held Tuesday afternoon suggest Google will launch the Google Editions e-book store this summer. The service, which first started popping up on our radar back in 2008, will allow Google to sell some of the books it has scanned through deals struck with publishers. At first, the store will be limited to in-print books, as is the case with the Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple e-book stores. Ultimately, though, the goal is to turn Google Editions into an outlet for electronic versions of out-of-print books -- as outlined in a deal that was struck with the publishing industry in 2008, and is still awaiting approval from the courts.

In addition to offering rare, out-of-print books (an advantage for Google that also helps publishers and authors), Google Editions will boast a flexibility that other outlets lack. Partners will be able to embed the store in other websites, allowing, for example, authors to sell e-books directly from their sites without redirecting customers to a Google page. Purchased content will be available in a format that can be read by almost any e-book reader (save the Kindle, we presume), as well as be available in a Web browser.

We presume that part of the delay in launching Google Editions has been the hope that the company could launch the store, complete with out-of-print offerings, all at once. Unfortunately, everyone from the U.S. Department of Justice to European trade groups, from Yahoo! to Microsoft, take issue with the terms of the $125 million settlement, which would allow Google to sell out-of-print books and leave most of the selling price to the discretion of the authors. Rather than let potential competitors enjoy even more of a head start, Google seems to have decided to just launch the marketplace, and worry about expanding it down the road.

Whether or not Google can compete in the e-book market remains to be seen, but a well-designed Android app for the service could go a long way towards ensuring at least some success. [From: Wall Street Journal, via: Ars Technica]

Tags: books, e-book, e-reader, eBook, ereader, google, GoogleEditions, kindle, top, web