Amazon.com Inc. on Thursday said it would offer customers the option of buying online access to any page or section of a book, as well as the entire book, in an announcement that came the same day that rival Google Inc. started offering online access to library books and documents.
The Seattle-based online retailer said customers would have the option of "un-bundling" any of hundreds of thousands of books in its Amazon Pages program. Researchers, for example, could choose to buy just the pages or sections they need and read them online.
In addition, Amazon.com said it would give customers buying a physical book the option of also having that book available online for reading. The program is called Amazon Upgrade.
The company did not say when the services would be available.
The upcoming offerings are being built on the company's technology for searching entire texts of books in order to deliver pages and sections based on any topic, from cooking to writing software.
Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon.com, said the company was giving customers "unusual flexibility in how they buy and read books."