"Google executives described the e-bookstore as an 'open ecosystem' that will offer more than three million books, including hundreds of thousands for sale and millions free.
"More than 4,000 publishers, including large trade book companies like Random House, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, have made books available for sale through Google , many at prices that are identical to those of other e-bookstores.
" 'We really think it’s important that the book business have this open diversity of retail points, just like it does in print,' Tom Turvey, the director of strategic partnerships at Google, said in an interview. 'We want to make sure we maintain that and support that.' Customers can set up an account for buying books, store them in a central online, password-protected library and read them on personal computers, tablets, smartphones and e-readers. A Web connection will not be necessary to read a book, however; users can use a dedicated app that can be downloaded to an iPad, iPhone or Android phone.
"A typical user could begin reading an e-book on an iPad at home, continue reading the same book on an Android phone on the subway and then pick it up again on a Web browser at the office, with the book opening each time to the place where the user left off.
"The Google eBookstore could be a significant benefit to independent bookstores like Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., that have signed on to sell Google e-books on their Web sites through Google — the first significant entry for independents into the e-book business.
" 'This levels the playing field,' said Oren Teicher, the chief executive of the American Booksellers Association. 'If you want to buy e-books, you don’t just have to buy them from the big national outlets' (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/business/media/07ebookstore.html?hp