Independent bookstores were battered first by discount chains like Barnes & Noble, then by super-efficient web retailers like Now the electronic book age is dawning. With this latest challenge, these stores will soon have a new ally: the search giant Google, The New York Times reports. Later this summer, Google plans to introduce its long-awaited push into electronic books, called Google Editions. The company has revealed little about the venture thus far, describing it generally as an effort to sell digital books that will be readable within a Web...

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staff and wire services reports