Google Dec. 6 launched Google eBooks, the company's effort to offer books online for purchase and free as an alternative to existing services from Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble.
Consumers will be able to search among 3 million titles from the EBookstore, which will complement the existing Google Books platform the company launched in 2004 to help organize the world's books online.
eBooks, which will support the ePub and PDF formats, will include a Web reader to help users read indexed books from any device that supports a modern Web browser, including computers, tablets and smartphones.
Users may consume Google eBook titles on Amazon's Kindle e-reader device, but only for titles without digital rights management, as Amazon sports its own content protection environment for its books. eBooks will be readily readable on the Sony Reader and Barnes & Noble Nook e-reading device.
Google will also offer free applications to let users access eBooks from devices running Google's Android operating system, such as smartphones and tablets, and Apple's iOS, including the iPad and iPhone. The Android app is available here, while the app for iOS devices is available for download here.
Of those 3 million titles Google will offer, hundreds of thousands will be offered for purchase, including George W. Bush's new Decision Points. These will be provided by Google's 4,000-plus publisher partners, including Random House Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins and McGraw Hill.
Google has negotiated revenue splits on a publisher-by-publisher basis but won't disclose those percentage breakdowns, Scott Dougall, product management director for eBooks, told eWEEK. It is believed Google will mostly pay most publishers 52 percent of the list price for sales made on the eBookstore Website.
More than 2 million-plus book titles will be free, public domain classics users may already see snippets of on the Google Books search platform. This will include Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.