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Google Editions delayed until fall

A Reuters story on the resurgence of U.S. independent bookstores contains an interesting piece of news: Google Editions, an e-book service that will compete head on with Apple’s iBookstore and Amazon, won’t launch until the fall. The service was originally scheduled to launch this summer, with Google hinting that it would appear sometime in June or July.

From the Reuters story:

The [American Booksellers Association] has reached a deal with Google Editions “ Google’s digital bookstore, due to launch this fall “ that would allow its 14,000 members to sell Google’s eBooks through their websites.

So far, Google itself has revealed few details about the service. However, the aforementioned partnership with the ABA is giving indies hope that they will soon gain a foothold in the realm of e-book sales. A New York Times story from earlier this summer has some of the details:

Google is promoting its e-book plan as a fundamentally different and more open alternative to its rivals’ stores. Though it will act as a retailer and sell books from its own site, it will also behave like a wholesaler and allow independent bookstores and other partners to sell its e-books on their own sites.

People who buy Google e-books will not be locked into any particular reading devices or book formats, the company said. Books bought from Apple’s iBookstore, by contrast, can be read only on Apple devices.