Google is about to launch its e-book store and it's likely to change everything. Dubbed "Google Editions," the store is said to have more than a half million titles that will be readable on nearly any device that can access the Web... and it will be up and running before the end of the month.Watch out Amazon and move over Apple, because
According to The Wall Street Journal, the wait is finally over and Google's e-book venture will be in the U.S. this month, with an international launch taking place by the first quarter of 2011. The store was expected to launch last summer, but was held up by several legal and technical hurdles.
The big news here, of course, is that Google's version of the e-book is Web-based and therefore device agnostic. That is, it doesn't matter if you have an iPhone, iPad, Android, desktop, netbook or whatever else - as long as you can get on the Web, you can read a book you buy from Google.
According to The Wall Street Journal, "Users will be able to buy books directly from Google or from multiple online retailers--including independent bookstores--and add them to an online library tied to a Google account. They will be able to access their Google accounts on most devices with a Web browser."
As one Kindle-centric blog puts it, "the Kindle suddenly has to take on a new competitor - one that doesn't even have an eReader to sell." The blog looks at a number of reasons the Kindle (and other e-readers, by extension) have something to worry about, from the exposure offered by a company like Google to the fact that even Kindle owners might be able to bypass Amazon and buy e-books from Google.
One big argument we've heard time and again from the e-reader loyal is that features like the Kindle's "e-ink" make all the difference, but we can't help but wonder if price makes even more of a difference. Google can certainly play the "you don't even need to buy an e-reader" card on this one, and we're willing to bet it will work.
Of course, the big question now is, will we see Google Editions before Christmas? There are just 24 days left and, luckily, there's no shipping time on an e-book.