Google Selling Book Access Online

    March 13, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Publishers who are members of Google’s Partner Program in the US and the UK can sign on to sell online-only access to material available through Google Book Search.

The first way publishers will be able to monetize their works through Google Book search comes from an initiative where users pay for online access to those works. “The Search” author John Battelle wrote that in the wake of Google Base and Video, “it’s clear the company is looking to move in on eBay and Amazon.”

Online book access represents a baby step toward competing with Amazon, though. Access to a work purchased through Google Book Search can only be made through a browser. Users have no rights to download a copy or copy pages of the work to their computers.

A publisher will have to confirm to Google that it does have the rights to sell that access. These partners can then login to the Partner Program to modify the relevant information and make that access available for sale.

Publishers can set various options for online access, like pricing, territorial rights, and what percentage of the book can be printed.

Possibly, Google could take this program a step further and enable publishers to sell print-on-demand copies of a work. Barnes & Noble has used IBM’s technology for that purpose in its distribution centers; also, iUniverse, a publishing portal backed by the bookseller, uses it to fulfill print-on-demand orders.

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