In discussions with publishers at the annual BookExpo convention over the weekend, Google said it plans to introduce a program enabling publishers to sell digital versions of their newest books directly to consumers, reports the New York Times. The move would pit Google against Amazon.com, which is seeking to control the eBook market with the versions it sells for its Kindle reading device. Google’s move is likely to be welcomed by publishers who have expressed concerns about Amazon’s aggressive pricing strategy for eBooks. Amazon offers Kindle editions of most new best sellers for $9.99, far less than the typical $26 at which publishers sell new hardcovers. In early discussions, Google has said it will allow publishers to set consumer prices. "Clearly, any major company coming into the eBook space, providing that we are happy with the pricing structure, the selling price, and the security of the technology, will be a welcome addition," said David Young, chief executive of Hachette Book Group. Google’s eBook retail program would be separate from the company’s settlement with authors and publishers over its book-scanning project, under which Google has scanned more than seven million volumes from several university libraries. A majority of those books are out of print…

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