News of the launch generated close to 1,300 news stories overnight. Google eBookswent live in the US, with "hundreds of thousands" of paid-for digital books and 3m free titles. A number of stories reports that the service is a serious rival to Amazon, while the American Booksellers Association has revealed that about 110 indie bookshops will launch the e-books platform on their own websites.
A UK launch is expected next year.
Google Editions will let people buy ebooks from Google or from the websites of independent bookstores, which are still struggling to compete with the two larger rivals and with Barnes & Noble, which has its own "Nook" ebook reader.
Customers would be able to set up accounts for buying books, which would be stored in an online 'library', probably on Google's own servers, and read them on devices connected to the net such as smartphones or tablet computers. Millions of books would be available for free, Google says - probably out of copyright ones or those who have given permission for free usage.
Google has also taken measures to prevent piracy of books, tying them to buyers' accounts and splitting them into small pieces which would be very hard to reassemble into a book.
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Google to move into the ebook market at end of year: