MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (
is set to open another chapter in its digital media empire with Google Editions, an e-book sales and distribution service.
Hoping to claim a share of the emerging Internet publishing business, Google is developing a service that would give the industry a direct outlet for book sales to consumers who could read the material on a variety of devices.
The move takes a different approach to the e-book market than
iBook app, which works only on Apple devices. And while
book distribution service has been an early success, it has largely ridden on the popularity of the Kindle e-reader.
Google's Web-based book plan will also vie against
Barnes and Nobles'
Nook ebook reader, which is also designed for a specific device.
The company has not offered many details about the Editions effort. The service is expected to start in June or July, according to
The Wall Street Journal
. Google has been scanning books for several years and has amassed a digital library of 12 million books, according to a recent article in
The New Yorker
. And many of those titles are out of print, making Google a prime source for both new issues and hard-to-find books.
This isn't the first dive into digital media distribution for the Internet search giant. Last year, Google started YouTube "Shows," a TV- and movie-viewing service. Google is expected to launch a pay version of the YouTube site to compete with outfits like
Google shares fell 5% to $506.37 amid heavy selling Tuesday.
--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.