Google has confirmed its highly-anticipated eBooks platform is now available in Australia, allowing locals the ability to purchase electronic books across a range of Internet-enabled devices.
The news, which comes as the company kicks off its annual Google Developer Day in Sydney, marks a significant milestone in the local e-book industry which is now heavily contested by the likes of Apple with its iBookstore, Amazon its vast array of digital books and a series of local retailers such as Angus and Robertson.
Google announced the 2-million-book strong eBookstore earlier this year, but at launch it wasn’t available in Australia with the company unable to provide a local launch date at the time.
Now however, the search giant has made the service and an associated affiliate program available to Australian residents, launching not only its own store but partnering with Booktopia and Dymocks who’ll sell Google eBooks as well (Google says QBD The Bookshop and The Co-op Bookshop will also launch Google eBook integration soon).
Book prices are comparative to Apple’s local edition of the iBookstore, with most priced in the range of $9.99 to $25. Current topsellers include Matthew Reilly’s Scarecrow and the army of thieves, The Opal Desert by Di Morrissey and The Affair: Jack Reacher 16 by Lee Child.
“We’ve got hundreds of thousands of titles to choose from, including plenty of bestsellers, and millions of free eBooks on top of that,” eBooks Partnerships Manager at Google Australia, Mark Tanner, said in a post on Google’s blog today.
“We’re happy to make it even easier for all Australians to discover, buy and read their next great book.”
Google has now enabled the “Books” tab in the Australian Android Market as well, allowing the purchase of books through the application market for reading on smartphones and tablets.
It also means iRiver’s StoryHD e-reader is now a possibility for Australians, with the lack of a local Google eBookstore one of the key drivers preventing a launch from occurring.
The company is remaining coy on when (or even if) it will launch “Movies” in Australia – American users can purchase not only books and apps, but also full-length movies from the store.
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