Google Reads Up On Book Downloads

    August 30, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Visitors to Google Book Search will have the opportunity to download and print classic titles from the service. Sometime today, Google Book Search should open its virtual doors to literary fans and allow them to download PDF copies of certain titles, and to print them.

Google Reads Up On Book Downloads
Reading The Google Way

Current Google Book Search policy only permits out-of-copyright books to be read online.

AP noted how the variety of books available in this manner will only come from the public domain. Copyrighted books will not be enabled for download.

Those copyrighted works have stirred up anger against Google from publishers and authors. Both fear losing control of books and have filed a couple of lawsuits against Google for copyright infringement due to Google’s book-scanning and archive initiative.

Google has long argued its scanning of texts from libraries and the usage of snippets of text from them in its Book Search comprise a fair use of those works.

Also, since millions of books are no longer in print, a search could expose a reader to a book he never knew existed and prompt interest in purchasing it. Google monetizes Book Search now with its ubiquitous contextual ads, and has tools in place to enable it to turn interest in a book into a sale for a publisher.

That potential did not matter much last November, when representatives from Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers battled over the search advertising company’s scanning practices.

Google’s scanning, and a new agreement it has reached with the University of California system to archive its books, has prompted some concerns about so much work being under the auspices of a single private company.

Brewster Kahle, co-founder of the Internet Archive, said by telephone that Google’s work would be even better if it were part of an effort like the Open Content Alliance, of which he is also a part. Yahoo and Microsoft along with other companies are OCA members.

OCA’s operations have been working with publishers to ensure it does not run into the same issues Google has encountered. Kahle thinks Google would do well to “play nice with others” when it comes to scanning and opening content, and keeping it open, for all to enjoy.


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