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Amazon Kindle books coming to cell phones?

Until now you could only read books sold in Amazon's Kindle Store on the Kindle, the company's digital reader. But that may change soon.

Kindle titles could be available soon on a variety of mobile devices. Amazon

Some people have criticized Amazon for essentially making the Kindle a "closed" e-book reader system. However, word from Yahoo Finance is that it might not be so closed after all and that Amazon will be making its Kindle books available on a wide variety of mobile phones in the near future.

At this point, it's unclear whether it will be offering up all its Kindle titles (the Kindle Store currently has about 230,000 e-books for sale) or just a fraction of them. Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener simply said the company is working on making Kindle books available "on a range of mobile phones."

Additionally, Google announced Friday that titles from its Book Search service will be available for reading on the iPhone and T-Mobile's G1, which uses Google's Android operating system.

Electronic book readers like Stanza from Lexcycle and the eReader from Fictionwise are already popular on the iPhone. However, getting books onto your iPhone to use with those readers is more cumbersome than downloading a book from Apple's iPhone App Store. However, if Amazon were to create an iPhone Kindle application that tied directly into its store, Lexcycle and Fictionwise would certainly have to up their games to compete.

What's this all mean? Well, we'll probably learn a lot more about Amazon's e-book strategy on Monday when it's widely expected to announce the Kindle 2. But it's clear that the company sees big bucks in publishing and distributing e-books, which cost nothing to make (in terms of raw materials) and only need to be stored on a server and not some shelf in a warehouse.

Currently, Amazon takes a nice cut from authors and publishers to sell Kindle versions of their books--up to 65 percent of the list price--though big publishers and authors get better terms.

Anyway you look it, these announcements from Google and Amazon mean you're going to be seeing and hearing about a lot more e-books--and e-book readers. It also shows that Amazon's Kindle strategy is not just about hardware but software.

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