The Digital Books Giants Square Off

Laura Miller compares Google's new e-book store to Amazon's Kindle:

Google eBooks is a big improvement on the Kindle (still the most popular dedicated e-reader device) if you anticipate wanting to switch from one dedicated e-reader device to another, but if you're switching to an iPad, then it's a wash. On the other hand, if you're a student at the library one afternoon without your Kindle or iPad and you want to be able to access a Kindle book you bought for a class, you're out of luck. (If that last example strikes you as an exotic scenario, bear in mind that while Kindles are the most popular dedicated e-reader devices, the majority of people who read e-books still read them on a laptop or desktop computer, and many of these readers are students.) Your Google e-books, however, can be read on the library's computer using a Web browser. But hold on a minute! -- Amazon just announced that it will be introducing its own Web-browser-based Kindle reader in a month or so.

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