Google Doubles Book Search Partners

    October 16, 2008
    Chris Crum

Google really has the ball rolling on the controversial Google Book Search project. Reuters is reporting that 20,000 publishers have signed on over the last year, doubling the number of partners that Google has. The company has also added two new library partners over the last year bringing that number up to 29.

Some of Google’s library partners have been so receptive of Google’s project that they’re building their own version on the side. They recognize the potential importance of digitizing books and have started their own database called HathiTrust, and will pull from additional research sources. It’s all library-based and will not be dependent on the corporate future of a company like Google.

Not that Google’s too worried about their future, or even their future with Book Search. It got off to a rocky start, but seems to be sailing much more smoothly these days. Apart from the growing number of content partners Google is building up, there is a possibility that they may be close to settling a three-year-old lawsuit regarding the project, according to Matt McGee at Search Engine Land. He writes:

In the legal case, five publishers sued to stop Google from scanning the entire content of books that are still under copyright protection. Google has said that only a small portion of the scanned books are made available through Google Book Search, so the program constitutes “fair use.” They also say publishers can opt out of the program.

Rumors in the past week are that negotiations have “heated up” and a settlement is “imminent.” Spokespersons for both Google and the Association of American Publishers dismissed the speculation.

Either way, Google is continuing down the path of organizing the world’s information and this includes books (not to mention old newspapers), and one can’t help but consider a possible future where books being read electronically (and socially for that matter) becomes the norm, with more and more becoming available online and devices like the Kindle being offered (although such a device is apparently not in the cards anytime soon for Google). I’m not saying it’s the near future, or even that it is the future, but it’s a possibility isn’t it?