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Google Ponders Book Rental Plan

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The possibility of a for-pay rental scheme for books scanned into the Google Print project has been raised with at least one publisher.

That prospect – a rental fee of 10 percent of the book’s list price – was dismissed as too low by a publisher Google approached, WSJ.com reported over the weekend.

Google, already facing two lawsuits over its book scanning projects, has been seeking a way to profit from the laborious work being undertaken to digitize old books. “Google Print is exploring new access models to help authors and publishers sell more books online, but we don’t have anything to announce,” a Google spokesman said in the report.

Still, the book rental proposal looks like a method Google will pursue, if for no other reason than to match big publishing houses like Bertelsmann AG, and online competition from Amazon.com.

Amazon’s plan builds upon what had been its first business, selling books. (Yes, believe it or not, at one time your choices on Amazon were limited to hardback or paperback; how things change.)

One Amazon project will sell access to pages, sections, or chapters of books, while another would let book purchasers pay a fee for an online copy of the text.

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

Google Ponders Book Rental Plan
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