Google has revealed plans that will see the online search giant selling ebooks, directly competing with Amazon, among others, in the growing digital book market.

Announced at the annual BookExpo convention in the States, Tom Turvey, director of strategic partnerships at Google, said of the plans, which have been talked up before: "This time we mean it".

Google already offers 1.5 million public-domain books for reading on phones as well as ebook readers, such as Sony's Reader and its plans to sell ebooks are said to be due to go live before the end of 2009.

Google's move is thought to counter Amazon's "aggressive pricing strategy" for ebooks that sees the etailer offering new best sellers for $9.99, while Google will allow publishers to set consumer prices - more likely to be closer to $26.

Turvey said Google planned to sell online access to digital versions of various titles that would be available when offline, and on any device with internet access, including mobile phones.