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Google to take on Apple, Amazon in e-book sales this summer

Google plans to begin selling e-books in late June or July, getting into the digital business Apple recently entered with the iPad and its own iBookstore.

Google held an event in New York on Tuesday at which Chris Palma, manager for strategic-partner development, announced the search giant's plans, according to The Wall Street Journal. The event was held in Manhattan at the offices of publisher Random House, and was entitled "The Book on Google: Is the Future of Publishing in the Cloud?"

The report said Google will offer content on a "broad array of devices," likely including those running its Android mobile operating system, and books will be available from a number of websites. The service will allow smaller, independent book stores to have a "sophisticated electronic-book sales service with a vast selection of titles."

"Google says users will be able to buy digital copies of books they discover through its book-search service. It will also allow book retailers—even independent shops—to sell Google Editions on their own sites, taking the bulk of the revenue," the report said. "Google is still deciding whether it will follow the model where publishers set the retail price or where Google sets retail prices."

Apple recently entered the e-book market with the release of the iPad on April 3, with the iBooks application and its included iBookstore offering a wide range of titles from a number of major publishers. While it debuted on the iPad, iBooks will be coming to the iPhone and iPod touch this summer.

On Monday, Apple announced that its own venture into the e-books market got off to a strong start, with more than 1.5 million titles downloaded in the first 28 days. The iBookstore is a new online storefront for Apple, in addition to its App Store for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, and the iTunes Music Store.

Last month, it was revealed that Google plans to release a tablet computer to take on Apple's iPad. The device would run the Android mobile operating system, which is primarily found on smartphones. Google's alleged e-reader would function like a computer, though the company hasn't officially confirmed the device.