Amazon has unveiled a web-based service to support its existing Kindle e-reader, a day after Google launched its eBooks cloud-based ebookstore.
Kindle for the Web is nearly identical to Google eBooks and signals renewed competition in the e-reading market, according to the New York Times.
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But Amazon's new service fits into the Kindle's established "buy once, read everywhere" strategy with all features automatically synchronised across all Kindle hardware and third-party platforms such as iOS, Android and BlackBerry.
The most important difference to the Google product, said the NYT, is that independent third-party publishers and authors can now sell content directly on their own sites, earning them referral fees through Amazon's Associates Program, whereas Google eBooks has not yet developed a third-party seller model.
Google may be betting on winning subscribers from its cloud-based Google Apps services and the fact that it has already digitised nearly 15 million books since 2004 through its separate Google Books project, which will enable it to offer 3 million titles from the start, said the NYT.
E-reader sales are set to reach 6.6 million units in 2010, up 79.8% from 2009 sales of 3.6 million, according to research firm Gartner.