The long-delayed venture — Google executives had said they hoped to launch this summer — recently has cleared several technical and legal hurdles, people close to the company say. It is set to debut in the U.S. by the end of the year and internationally in the first quarter of next year, said Scott Dougall, a Google product management director. (...)
Google Editions hopes to upend the existing e-book market by offering an open, "read anywhere" model that is different from many competitors. Users will be able to buy books directly from Google or from multiple online retailers — including independent bookstores — and add them to an online library tied to a Google account. They will be able to access their Google accounts on most devices with a Web browser, including personal computers, smartphones and tablets.
This will finally answer the question "How can I read an entire book in Google Book Search?". Right now, you can only read books in the public domain and some books from the Partner Program. "Many of the books in Google Books come from authors and publishers who participate in our Partner Program. For these books, our partners decide how much of the book is browsable - anywhere from a few sample pages to the whole book," explains Google. Google's partners will now have an incentive to allow full access to the books: users will actually pay to read the books.