Google Inc. is close to unveiling its online e-book venture, Editions, in the United States.
The search giant had originally hoped to launch the service in the summer of 2010 before a number of technical and legal hurdles emerged.
Company insiders now say those problems have been addressed and the service is ready to launch, media reports suggested Wednesday.
The service will be different from other e-reader offerings such as Amazon's Kindle in that it will allow users to read the content on any device with a web browser.
Editions is set to launch in the United States by the end of the year and internationally in early 2011, Google product management director Scott Dougall told the Wall Street Journal.
Google's Canadian arm declined to provide details on a possible launch.
"We do not have anything to announce at this time," spokeswoman Wendy Rozeluk said. "For some time we have said that we expect to launch Google Editions in the U.S. later this year, but I do not have any specific dates."
Users will be able to buy books directly from Google's online store, or from participating independent bookstores. It is unclear how revenue will be divided between Google, publishers and booksellers who sign up for the venture.
A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that Chapters' Kobo e-reader device only allowed content to be downloaded from designated web stores and be read on compatible devices. In fact, Kobo is an open platform and is not a proprietary content holder.Dec 01, 2010 12:31 PM ET