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The Google e-bookstore is finally open.

Now, instead of going only to Amazon, or only to Barnes and Noble you can go to http://books.google.com/ebooks and find several million books, in e-format.

Many of them free.  The Consolation of Philosophy, for instance.

Better yet, you can go to Alibris, the consortium of independent book-sellers, and use the same Google e-book app to get books there. For example, David Rabe’s new fiction about Vietnam, A Girl By the Road at Night, is available in e-format at Alibris for $10.99

In either case, you log into your account — at Alibris, or Google.  At Google, go to Books; at Alibris you’re already there.  Search for the book you have in mind, or browse. Choose, pay (or not, if free), click and put into your account.  You can read it on your computer.  You can put the Google Books App in your portable device, and use it to log into the same account, and continue reading in the hot-tub.  All pretty cool — and Amazon avoiding….

Of course, you can also go to the Gutenberg Project which has long had text and some audible of great classics.  It looks like they’re up to speed on the e-format as well.