Google and some of the world’s top publishers are working on plans that they hope could do for books what Apple’s iTunes has done for music.
With 380 million people using Google each month, the move would give a significant boost to the development of e-books and have a serious impact on the publishing industry and book retailers.
According to Jens Redmer, director of Google Book Search in Europe, after many years of setbacks the electronic book looked poised to go main-stream. Commuters in Japan are already reading entire novels on their mobile phones.
Sony recently launched its Reader, a digital book device with an online book store stocking 10,000 titles. Amazon, the world’s largest online book seller, is also planning to launch an e-book service.
Google Book-Search users can search the book and see snippets relevant to their search; web links then guide readers to sites such as Amazon where they can buy a physical copy of the book. Major publishers such as Penguin, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster are among those involved in the project.
E-book advocate and science-fiction author, Cory Doctorow of web-directory Boing Boing, said, in effect, that publishers should send Google fruitbaskets for vastly expanding their market.