Google wants to sell books to Kindle owners too

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Search giant Google, which is making forays into the book world, would happily sell books to readers who own Kindles or other e-readers, said Google Books engineering director Dan Clancy on Friday.

A man holds the new Kindle DX electronic reader at a news conference where the device was introduced in New York May 6, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Google, which plans to launch Google Editions next year with something like half a million titles, will be selling titles to be read on laptops, netbooks or any device that can reach the Internet.

That leaves out the owners of Amazon’s Kindle, but it wouldn’t have to, Clancy told Reuters

If Amazon allowed Kindle users to buy from Google Editions it would be easy for the two companies to set up the sales, Clancy said.

“It’s not that hard. Google Editions will support any reader device,” he added.

Amazon says that it has more than 360,000 books, newspapers, magazines and blogs available for the Kindle.

Another e-reader, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, which is currently sold out, will have access to Google’s public domain books.

Amazon, along with Microsoft and other Google rivals, have been among the most vociferous critics of Google’s plan to digitize millions of books and make them available online.

That plan spawned a lawsuit in 2005 brought by authors and publishers that accused Google of copyright infringement for scanning libraries of books.

Google, the Authors Guild and publishers have settled that lawsuit and last month submitted a revised agreement aimed at answering antitrust and copyright concerns raised by the U.S. Justice Department.

There will be a fairness hearing on that settlement, which must be approved by a court, on February 18, 2010.

Critics of the deal have also included Yahoo, Microsoft and the National Writers Union. Amazon did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment for this story.

The case is The Authors Guild et al v. Google, Inc., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 05-08136.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Carol Bishopric