The agreement between Google and the US book industry means that Internet users will soon be able to choose from and buy millions of titles, many out of print, or read them on a page-by-page basis.
Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin, called the US$125m deal a ‘great leap’. Paul Aiken, executive director of the guild, called it ‘the biggest book deal in US publishing history’. Once approved by a federal court in Manhattan, the deal will offer access to a library of millions of titles.
After searching for books via Google, users will be offered free samples of chosen titles, with the option to buy more. Although it is as yet unclear how much books will cost to download, a royalty organisation, the Book Rights Registry, will take payments from Google and distribute them to the authors and publishers.
‘This historic settlement is a win for everyone,’ said Richard Sarnoff, chairman of the publishers association. ‘It’s hard work writing a book, and even harder work getting paid for it,’ said Roy Blount, president of the guild. ‘This deal makes good sense.’