Google Plots e-Book Version of iTunes

Google and some of the world's top publishers are working on a system that would allow readers to download entire books to their computers. The book would be read on the user's monitor or on mobile devices. Jens Redmer, director of Google Book Search in Europe, said: "We are working on a platform that will let publishers give readers full access to a book online." He did not believe taking books online would mean the end of the printed word but it would give readers more options when it came to buying. Commuters in Japan are already reading entire novels on their mobile phones.

Google's main competition will be Sony, which launched its digital book device with an online book store stocking 10,000 titles, and Amazon, the world's largest online book seller, which is planning an e-book service as well. The book initiative would be part of Google's Book Search service and would make books searchable online with publishers' approval. Currently, snippets of the book are available along with links for purchasing the physical copy of the book. Major publishers such as Penguin, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster are among those involved in the project. Google said the project was coming "sooner rather than later".

News source: Times Online

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Good idea depending on the price and the way in which the eBooks are available. Some PDF documents are just scans of papers so pages are displayed as images rather than text, mostly pre 1990's papers mostly. And if they do use their own individual "browser" for these ebooks, will we be able to read them on other computers. They may give download options for different file types etc I guess.

Google really has to stop taking on new things.. They're getting in to the new things too much, it would be a shame if they'd disappear because their little new projects hit 'em in the neck..

Apparently Sony's e-Reader uses some kind of patented technology that looks exactly like pages from a book, reducing eye strain.

Personally I prefer a good real physical book over this e-book thing. I like the smell of books, the turning of pages, the lack of needing a battery to operate it. I like real books.

I was thinking the same thing. There's only about a gazillion different file formats already available that can allow anyone to download a "book" into their machine in one form or another.
I suppose it would be nice if there was a universal format that everyone could agree upon and use... no, wait... there already is. You know, a format that could be "distributed" over some sort of world-wide web and easily displayed in a "browser" of some kind. I wonder what that could be?