Print Google Books

August 30th, 2006 by Hugh

Publishers arn’t going to like this: Google now lets internet users download and print classic books for free. It’s going further than Project Gutenberg that has for some time been offering free texts. Google Books offers users attractively formatted copies from the original imprint. To find printable books, use the “Full view books” option in the search. They come in PDF format.

A Google Books search gives users a number of options including “search inside”, “buy this book”, “find this book in a library”, “search for reviews”, “search for related web pages”. Now it has added a “download” button to some books such as Bibliomania.

University libraries at Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan and the University of California, are involved in the Google Books project. Publishers, however, are suing Google. Google’s defence is that although the public can search copyrighted texts online, they won’t be able to download and print them.

It’s not hard to imagine what Penguin Classics thinks about Google’s plans, but it would seem that there is not much the company could do to stop Google offering out-of-copyright works to the public. I can imagine calls coming soon from publishers to extend the length of the copyright term once again. This has already happened once after pressure from Disney to keep Micky Mouse under tabs. In most countries copyright lasts for 70 years after the death of the author.

One Response to “Print Google Books”

  1. Francisco Soto Says:

    Google seems to have many complementary interests with ExBiblio:

    “Tesseract, an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine has been released into open source. OCR is the process by which we can convert the pages of this document into text that can then be used for indexing.This particular OCR engine, called Tesseract, was in fact not originally developed at Google! It was developed at Hewlett Packard Laboratories between 1985 and 1995.”

    This brings to mind the importance of thinking not of potential competitors but of complementors and substitutors when defining the business arena and the product strategy. Following this line of thought, there is an interesting book that tries to merge business strategy with game theory, “Co-opetiton”