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Friday, November 14, 2008

Google Book Search Settlement

An article from Book Business Magazine offers some insight into how the U.S. publishing industry could be favorably affected by the Google Book Search agreement. Rights holders will see the benefit from the establishment of a Books Rights Registry that would provide them with revenue from sales, advertising, subscriptions, and per-page printing via a 63:37 split with Google. While consumers could benefit from the ability to search the full text of copyrighted books and then choose from purchasing options such as digital, hard copy, and by page. Schools and libraries would also benefit from Google’s subscription service offerings. What is perhaps less clear is how this will affect booksellers that occupy the retail space – from the local college store to Amazon, this could be a potential challenge to handling retail transactions. Others also see this agreement as potentially disrupting competition. According to an article on Bookseller.com, the UK Booksellers Association warns that if the agreement is brought to the U.K. it could create “a de facto monopoly” by removing competition from the market and denying customers a choice. The association adds, "This recent agreement, if ever adopted in the UK and Ireland, would have a hugely damaging effect on the publishing and bookselling industry and, consequently, for authors and the public as well."

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