After much anticipation, Google launched its ebookstore in the US today, jumping into the fray with Amazon, Apple, and Borders with its first “real” retail service, reports Wired. Google eBooks lets readers view their books on a variety of devices, from iPhones to Chrome and Safari browsers to Sony’s Reader—but not Amazon’s Kindle, due to compatibility issues, Google says. Users can start a book on one device and continue on another, keeping their place in the volume.
“The fundamental idea is buy anywhere and read anywhere,” using “devices you already own,” says a Google engineer. With a planned 3 million books, the store says it will carry more than any other online bookseller—but some 2.8 million are books scanned from university libraries whose copyrights have expired. (Click for more on the Google Books controversy.) Sales won’t be limited to Google’s own site: Independent booksellers will be able to sell the ebooks and get a chunk of the revenue.