Google to enter the e-book business this summer

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Google said May 5 that it will begin selling e-books this summer, increasing the company's footprint in the e-commerce sector.

The search giant will sell e-books as soon as late June, according to a company spokesperson, who confirmed an earlier report in The Wall Street Journal.

Through Google Editions, consumers will be able to purchase e-books through Google's book-search service. The digital books will be available across web browsers, meaning consumers can read them on various mobile devices.

Book retailers will also be able to sell Google Editions on their own e-commerce websites, making the search giant a rival to Amazon.com, Apple and Barnes & Noble, which have also battled to sell mobile reading devices.

Since the Kindle debuted, US wholesale revenues from e-books have grown from less than $10 million in Q4 2007 to more than $46 million in Q3 2009, according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Forrester Research predicts that e-book revenues will top $500 million in the US in 2010.

Google has dabbled in books since 2004, when the web giant began its Google Book Library project, in which it sought to scan every book ever written for use in its library.

The initiative did not make Google any friends in the book publishing world. The company backed off the project after a number of publishers and book copyright holders filed suits against it.

The publishing industry has recently challenged Amazon, which set price points for e-books at $9.99 each. Publishers are complaining that this price is too low and could hurt the choice of books available to be published digitally.

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