Google Book Search: Industry-Friendly, Consumer Not-So-Friendly

March 13th, 2006 · 3 Comments
by Booksquare

It is so hard to keep up with Google Book Search news these days. Honestly, we’re sitting in a room with the dude from Google — does he mention the new revenue sharing model? That would be a big, fat “No!” Of course, as you’ll recall from our previous posts, it was a busy conversation.

So Google is adding a paid component to their searches, allowing publishers to set the price and sharing the revenue between the two entities (assuming a book has only one publisher, and in this modern world, one can never make such bold assertions). Being lazy, we’ll let Publisher’s Weekly do the heavy writing for us:

Under the initiative, publishers tell Google what books they want to offer unlimited access to to consumers and at what price. Google will then remove the restrictions which limit consumers’ view of a title, enabling them to view the book at parameters set by the house. Publishers can also decide if they will permit a book to be printed out.

Yeah, well if you’re confused, then think what it’s like to be a publisher. Jim Gerber of Google notes that consumers will “perpetual access” to the books, but won’t be able to print them. This leads us to wonder if Google is confusing itself with the music industry. C’mon, you’ve done half the marathon, now it’s time to finish strong. Thing about the consumer. You know, the people who pay for this stuff?

All together now: FLEXIBILITY!

In other news, smaller publishers are seeing bumps in sales from better visibility. Inevitable, positive. HarperCollins is digitizing its own stuff (control your own destiny, we always say), and publishers are still suing Google.

Happy Monday!

[tags]Google Book Search, Book Publishing[/tags]

File Under: Non-Traditional Publishing

3 responses so far ↓

  • Max // Mar 13, 2006 at 9:45 am

    Seems like Google is caught between wanting to make things as accessible as possible for readers and not wanting to piss off publishers any further, which allowing printing would probably do. Whoever has the most flexible, user-friendly solution will win. That’s how it always works.

  • Kirsten // Mar 13, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    I’m still waiting for someone to explain the implications of all this for writers. It may be a good thing, for all I know, it’s just so fricking complicated — I feel like the straight man in a “who’s on google” skit.

  • Booksquare // Mar 13, 2006 at 1:46 pm

    Implication for writers: increased exposure should lead to increased sales. If you follow the link to the “soul searching” story, you’ll see that a small press had a dramatic upswing in sales. Authors only earn money on the first sale, so anytime you increase sales numbers, you help the author.

    Now, if you also consider the fact that most books are unavailable to consumers (a very small percentage of actual in-copyright material is available for sale), then the mere act of digitizing and making words searchable is a benefit to all involved. See yesterday’s rant on this very topic:
    Librarians Versus The Search Giants

    Max — funny you should bring this issue up. I attended a knock-down session on this very topic earlier today. It was going so fast that my notes are less decipherable than Coptic, but I think I got the gist. If not, I can go back and update once the podcast is available. The focus was mainly motion picture, but we all know that the concepts cut across all entertainment industries.