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Google eBooks: Does it give independent bookstores a fighting chance?

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“This partnership with Google is an important chapter in the renaissance we’ve been seeing in independent bookselling,” says Mr. Tucker. “It allows our membership to better compete with corporate retailers on selection, price, and convenience. It levels the playing field.”

Crisp and bright with plenty of white space, Google’s eBooks site features a store where consumers can browse and buy e-books, and a repository for those who wish to do research. It also includes a Google web reader, which users can use to subscribe to, share, and organize “interesting stuff on the web.” Google is offering free apps for both Apple and Android devices to make its program as widely available and accessible as possible.

With this, overnight, Google eBooks has become the largest e-book provider in the world in terms of offerings, reports Publishers Weekly “launching with nearly three million books available for purchase or download, including 'hundreds of thousands of e-books' available for purchase and over two million public domain titles available for free.”

“We set out to make the information stored in the world’s books accessible and useful online,” Abraham Murray, product manager of Google Books in an official blog post. “Since then, we’ve digitized more than 15 million books from more than 35,000 publishers, more than 40 libraries, and more than 100 countries in more than 400 languages.”

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