Wired is reporting on this today:
Google’s long awaited e-book-only bookstore, Google eBooks, puts the company in competition with Amazon, Apple and Borders for the burgeoning electronic book market. The move, limited at the start to U.S. customers only, also marks the first real retail venture for the search and online advertising behemoth, if you don’t count the Android app market.
“The fundamental idea is buy anywhere and read anywhere,” said James Crawford, an engineer for Google eBooks, who emphasized that the system makes it easy to read the same book on multiple devices. “The fundamental architecture is cloud-based, and you never wonder where to put your books.”
The company claims that it will have more books in its catalog than any other online bookstore — more than 3 million titles, but only about 200,000 of those are books licensed from publishers. About 2.8 million of the books are books no longer under copyright in the U.S. that Google has scanned from university libraries as part of its controversial Google Books project. Started in 2004, Google Books has scanned millions of books, mostly without permission from copyright holders, making them searchable online. …
Google also seems cognizant that it is under scrutiny from government regulators. Currently, when books in print come up in Google and Google book search results, Google includes links to places to buy them online, including Amazon.com. That behavior won’t change, the company said, but Google eBooks will now be one of the options.
You can find the Google ebookstore here.