Perhaps poised to be pivotal to the success of Android tablet devices
Google Inc. is in the final stages of launching its long-awaited e-book retailing venture, Google Editions, a move that could shake up the way digital books are sold.
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.
The e-books store is an extension of Google's ambitious—and sometimes controversial—plan to scan the world's 150 million or so books and make them accessible to users of Google's Web-search engine. Thanks to several book-scanning centers located near major libraries, Google executives say the project, dubbed Google Books, is 10% complete.