Watch out Amazon. Google is hitting the online bookstore business.
The search giant announced Thursday at the Frankfurt Book Fair that in the first half of next year it will launch Google Editions, a new service that will deliver e-books to anyone with a Web browser.
Partnering with publishers which whom it already has digital rights deals, Google plans to initially offer about a half-million books through the service, according to press reports from Frankfurt. Readers will be able to purchase the books directly from Google or from online bookstores such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
In September, in conjunction with Congressional hearings into its Google Books project, the search titan had revealed a reseller program that would give competitors a share of money from such a service.
Google plans to share the sales with both publishers and the online bookstores. For books sold directly from its Web site, the search giant said at the book fair that it would give publishers 63 percent of the sales and keep 37 percent itself. For books sold through Amazon or other retailers, the publisher would get 45 percent, while the retailer would get almost 55 percent with a small share for Google.
The company said that consumers would be able to read the books on any connected device, including PCs, Netbooks, and smartphones. Apple iPhone users could access the e-books through their Gmail accounts.
Google said it doesn't plan to offer a dedicated e-book reader to accompany the new service, according to the press reports.
"We're not focused on a dedicated e-reader or device of any kind," Tom Turvey, Google's director of strategic partnerships, told journalists at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Google was not immediately available for comment to CNET News.