By Adam Markovitz
Updated December 06, 2010 at 12:00 PM EST
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Google’s new e-books store launched today, offering over 3 million titles in a new format that will compete directly with established retailers like Amazon. The store offers everything from the latest bestsellers (mostly in the $9 to $15 range) to public domain classics like Moby Dick (free, unless you think in terms of time=money, in which case it has its usual price of around $800,000).

Instead of downloading an actual file, Google’s e-books are stored in “the cloud,” a fun sci-fi-sounding term for Google’s online network, which allows readers to buy, store, and access their books from multiple devices using free apps on each. So if you start reading a book on your phone, you can pick up where you left off on your laptop, and finish things on your work computer. (Not that anyone would ever use office equipment for non-work related reading…) Some books will also be available in PDF or ePub versions for offline reading.

In something of a glove-slap-across-the-face to Amazon, Google’s e-books isn’t compatible with the Kindle — though it will work with the Barnes & Noble Nook, the Sony Reader, the iPhone, and pretty much every device short of that portable crossword thing you bought your grandpa last year for Christmas. And you don’t even have to buy the e-books on Google; third-party retailers like Alibris and Powell’s are getting in on the fun, too.

Check out the store, and then let us know: Do you think Google’s e-books will transform the publishing industry? Or will you still prefer other ways of getting your lit fix?

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