Google has made a truckload of e-books available for free download to an iPhone to Google Android handset. Many are copyright-expired classics or academic tracks.
But the search giant's new mobile e-book reader could serve as a proof-of-concept for a more open commercial system, serving e-books to any smartphone rather than Amazon’s closed Kindle system.
Amazon has already hit back, telling Yahoo Finance that it's in talks to put Kindle on "a range of mobile phones".
Google e-book titles are scanned versions of hardcopy books, custom-scanned to appear on an iPhone or screen.Smudges and occassional wonky alignment speak of a process that apparently values speed over accuracy as Google races to scan as many of the world's great libraries as possible.
And a search under, say, Travel, is more likely to yield an original Captain Cook travelogue than a Loney Planet guide to Bali.
But if that sounds like you, search or download titles from Google’s Book Search site here.
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