Tuesday, April 7, 2009
More news on Google Book Search
An article from The New York Times discusses the objections to the recent settlement proposal for Google Book Search. As you may recall, the Google Book Search initiative includes the scanning of millions of orphan books or those which are under copyright but out of print and the rights holders are unknown or can not be located. Many major libraries including university libraries contain large numbers of orphan books and Google could gain exclusive rights to publish the books online and profit from them if the settlement is approved in June. Some academic and public interest groups plan to file legal briefs for fear that Google could become a monopoly if the settlement is approved. Without orphan books, competitors will not be able to create a library as comprehensive as Google and therefore Google could potentially charge universities, libraries, and others high prices to access the database. Alexander Macgillivray, a lawyer for Google defends the company by saying that the goal is to make orphan works more widely accessible and the prices charged would be reasonable. He adds, “This agreement expands access to many of these hard-to-find books in a way that is great for Google, great for authors, great for publishers and great for readers.” But is it great for college stores and university libraries? Several of our members forwarded this article on to us noting that if the settlement is approved it could be a real game changer and easily affect every community and stakeholder in the industry. One member summed it by saying that Google has the potential to wipe out recommended title sales overnight which could further erode the market share college stores have in the book business.