Google on May 4 said it will soon begin selling electronic books that people can read on any internet-connected device, including Apple’s hot-selling iPad tablet computers, AFP reports. Google will launch an Editions online digital bookstore by the end of July, and its virtual shelves will be stocked with in-print works with the permission of publishers owning copyrights. “This eBook service will be device agnostic,” Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker told AFP. Books bought from Google and its partners would be available to any device that has a web browser, from smart phones and the growing number of eBook readers to personal computers. Google books will be able to be read by Kindle readers but also will support the “epub” open standard format backed by the International Digital Publishing Forum and which many publishers now use. Editions is separate from a controversial Google Book Search project to make all the world’s written works, including out-of-print titles, available online. The move brings another heavyweight contender to the increasingly competitive eBook market; Apple and Amazon each run online digital book shops, but those companies also sell eReader devices and have a stake in offering eBooks only in formats compatible with their devices…

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staff and wire services reports