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Google Book Scans Boosting Sales

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The search advertising company has contended its practice of scanning books and presenting snippets of text would help drive interest and sales of books people might not find normally, and it is starting to look like Google was correct.

Google Book Scans Boosting Sales
Google Books Makes Money

To paraphrase Terry Pratchett’s “Maskerade,” it is the dream of every publisher to have so much money in one’s pockets that they need to hire a couple of people to hold up their trousers. Writers think the same way, only in much more elaborate and detailed fantasies because publishers don’t have the same type of imagination.

(Star Wars fans can just think of Han Solo telling Luke Skywalker he can imagine a lot of credits when it comes to rescuing Princess Leia for a reward. You get the idea.)

When Google found itself on the receiving end of lawsuits from the Authors’ Guild and the Association of American Publishers, they made the claim that Book Search would reward publishers and authors by bringing long-forgotten books to the attention of a modern audience. Awareness followed by sales would take place.

A Reuters report on the subject provided some support to Google’s contention:

“Google Book Search has helped us turn searchers into consumers,” said Colleen Scollans, the director of online sales for Oxford University Press.

She declined to provide specific figures, but said that sales growth has been “significant.” Scollans estimated that 1 million customers have viewed 12,000 Oxford titles using the Google program.


Another specialty publisher, Springer Science + Business, has seen increased sales from its backlist catalog that they attribute to Google. They would not comment on figures for the privately-held publisher, however.

Major publishing house Penguin also said that Google has helped some, but Amazon has been even more helpful. Amazon also offers publishers the option of having a few pages made available to readers on the website.

“Our experience has been that the revenue generated from Google has been pretty modest, whereas the Amazon program has generated more book sales,” Penguin Chief Executive John Makinson told Reuters at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week.

Google’s defense teams are certain to make note of this too.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Google Book Scans Boosting Sales
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