Friday, September 25, 2009

New York judge sinks Google reprint settlement

Bobbie Johnson reports in today's Guardian, “Google Books deal postponed after avalanche of criticism”.

The judge overseeing Google's controversial agreement with American publishers to digitise millions of books has delayed a hearing into the $125m deal - effectively shutting down the settlement and sending it back to the drawing board.

The deal, if and when it happens, will allow Google to sell out-of-print in-copyright books that it doesn't have the rights to. The money would go into a lockbox that the copyright holders could get when they realize they own money-making orphan books.

The good news is that Google and On Demand Books have a partnership to print public domain titles in bookstores using the Espresso Book Machine. You'll be able to walk into bookstores (currently in San Francisco; New Orleans; Ann Arbor; Manchester Center, Vermont; and Provo, Utah) and for $8 walk out with a paperback book such as Catalog of the Greek coins of Phyrgia.

And look at that cover! I feel certain it was auto-generated. I may be the first human to have ever seen the cover of this numismatic book, when I opened the web site this morning. If the Espresso Book Machine ever makes it to New York I will be ready with many titles I'm willing to pay $8 for. If the Google deal had gone through many titles from the 20th century could have been available for just a little more.

1 comment:

teegee said...

Making it as hard as possible to make hapless scholars spend time they don't have, and impose wear on books some of which can't bear it, to do research in older works and works in languages that regional libraries seldom have is as all-Amercian as charging unaffordable admission fees to the National Parks, to families with three or four eager children, who can't afford them, let alone afford the price of a recresational vehicle (a bus with beds) or the cost of fuel for it. If there is anything today that I admire it is Google. Google is not opposed to rare-book collectors, but it would see to it that the people who are qualified to use the old books have access to them and is willing to scan them before they get old and crumble away. P.L.