Google announced to the world last week that it would soon be rolling out an online store for electronic books, or e-books, which would work with any device with a Web browser.
Currently, the two main players in the e-book reader market are Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader. The former has a proprietary format that it requires, while Sony is pushing for a more open database of books. Other players, such as Asus and Apple, have previously been reported to be working on touchscreen e-readers.
Reuters reports that the Web search giant said it would launch Google Editions in the first half of 2010, initially offering about half a million e-books in partnership with publishers with whom it already cooperates, where they have digital rights.
Readers will be able to buy e-books either from Google directly or from other online stores such as Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. Google will host the e-books and make them searchable.
Google has already come under some criticism and scrutiny for its project to scan and make all the books in the world freely available online.