Google pulls books into entertainment hub

Google pulls books into entertainment hub

The Google eBooks store has been merged into the company's wider entertainment portal with books now listed alongside other consumer products such as apps, games, music and movies.

The rebranded site Google Play was launched overnight, and replaces Google's Android Marketplace. The move is an attempt to increase the global search engine's footprint in the consumer download market.

Google said Play was "a more connected, powerful experience". It added: "With over 450,000 apps, millions of songs and books, and thousands of movies, Google Play has something for everyone."

Publishers have expressed concern over how the loss of a dedicated page for books will impact e-book sales, though with Google's e-book market share running well behind that of rivals such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble, any adverse impact would be minimal.

The move has, however, rekindled speculation about a Google tablet, with rumours suggesting that Google could launch a $199 tablet called Google Play.