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Google eBooks are now available to Australian customers. Two local booksellers are already onboard, and an affiliate program is open for website operators.

Like Amazon's Kindle, Google eBooks promises the ability to use a wide range of devices. In Google's case, there's a web reader that works with most browsers, plus apps for Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Many dedicated ebook readers (but not Kindles) are supported via Adobe Digital Editions.

Also like Kindle, Google eBooks lets you switch between devices (except those supported via Digital Editions) and pick up where you left off. Offline reading is supported on mobile devices, but not by the web reader.

Google now offers "hundreds of thousands of titles" to Australian readers. Google eBooks are available directly from Google's eBookstore, through Android Market, or via booksellers. Booktopia and Dymocks are already selling them, and QBD THe Bookshop and The Co-op Bookshop are expected to join the program shortly.

Google also offers an affiliate program that allows bloggers and other website operators to earn commissions from referring visitors to Google eBooks.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson costs $9.99 at Google eBooks, and $US14.99 at the Kindle Store. Similarly, Stephen King's 11.22.63 is $9.99 from Google but $US18.99 for Kindle. On the other hand, Lee Child's Jack Reacher novel The Affair is $19.99 from Google and $US12.99 from Amazon.

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Like Amazon's Kindle, Google eBooks promises the ability to use a wide range of devices. In Google's case, there's a web reader that works with most browsers, plus apps for Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Many dedicated ebook readers (but not Kindles) are supported via Adobe Digital Editions. Also like Kindle, Google eBooks lets you switch between devices (except those supported via Digital Editions) and pick up where you left off. Offline reading is supported on mobile devices, but not by the web reader. Google now offers " class="system-pagebreak" />

Some titles, such as Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves by Matthew Reilly, are available from Google eBooks but listed as forthcoming by Amazon.

"It's easy to find great Australian authors like Kate Grenville, Thomas Keneally, Geraldine Brooks and Christos Tsiolkas," said Mark Tanner, eBooks partnerships manager at Google Australia. "Google eBooks is all about choice: we're offering more titles and more ways to buy, access and read them, so that your library is literally at your fingertips."

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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