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Google has turned another page in its storied rise to online prominence with the opening of its new ebookstore.

Reading books in electronic form has become more and more popular over the past few years, thanks in large part to the preponderance of powerful, portable devices. These devices range from eReaders like the Amazon Kindle, to smartphones like the Blackberry RIM series, and even tablets like the iPad or the new Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Despite the many portable reading devices, there are still several major issues surrounding the ebook market. They mainly pertain to the availability of titles, the absence of uniform publishing agreements across competing services and the exclusivity of formats, which limits how and when the consumer can access their ebooks through device restrictions and copy-protection. For example, ebook purchases from the Amazon Kindle store can only be read on the Kindle or with Kindle apps.

Google’s eBookstore, however, is opening things up. It supplies ebooks of its own, as well as those from a host of other ebook vendors that are selling titles in the EPUB or PDF formats. These formats can be read on nearly every device with an Internet connection and a web browser.

More than three million ebook titles were available when the bookstore launched. These included new releases, bestsellers, and a treasure trove of free classics now found in the public domain.

Best of all, there are no actual files to download or store. This means ebooks won’t take up precious hard drive space, and there’s no risk of losing your library if your device crashes. Google eBooks are stored in  a cloud, which is a fancy way of saying that you can start reading a book on a smartphone and continue it later on your tablet or PC.

And no matter where you are or what device you’re using, when you open your e-book back up, it’ll pick up exactly where you left off.

Below is an introduction from Google to its new ebookstore.

story by Nellie Day/Eldergadget