US publishers back Google bookstore

May 10, 2010: 1:36 PM ET

Google has the support of almost all publishers in the United States for its 'Editions' digital bookstore, due out this summer.

Google currently has 25,000 authors and almost all U.S. publishers signed up for the Editions service, reports Kyodo News.

While having U.S. publishers on board is significant, Google's biggest advantage over other online sellers is its ability to distribute out-of-print books.

Of the four million books Google expects to publish at the opening of Editions, up to half are expected to be books with expired copyrights.  Google has been (controversially) digitizing the world's out-of-print books, arguing that it will help preserve the world's cultural heritage .  In October, Google co-founder Sergey Brin stated,

"The famous Library of Alexandria burned three times, in 48 BC, AD 273 and AD 640, as did the Library of Congress, where a fire in 1851 destroyed two-thirds of the collection. I hope such destruction never happens again, but history would suggest otherwise."

A ruling is pending on the digital book settlement with authors and publishers,  and it may have an impact on the scope and release date of the Editions bookstore.

Google (GOOG) is going up against Apple's iBookStore (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), and Barnes and Noble's (BKS) online bookstores as well as the free database of out- of-print books hosted by Project Gutenburg.

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