Google insists book scanning project is no threat

19th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 October 2005, FRANKFURT - U.S.-based web-search company Google insisted Wednesday to publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair that an ambitious project to make all the world's books searchable on the internet was no threat to their proprietary rights.

19 October 2005

FRANKFURT - U.S.-based web-search company Google insisted Wednesday to publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair that an ambitious project to make all the world's books searchable on the internet was no threat to their proprietary rights.

The controversial project has raised fears in the book industry that readers will download books free off the internet rather than buying them in shops, and thus deprive publishers of income.

But Jennifer Grant, Google product marketing manager, said during a presentation that the programme benefits publishers by creating interest in buying less-well-known books that web users would otherwise never hear about.

Google invites publishers to submit printed books, which are then scanned at a Google centre in the United States so that every word of the book is stored in a Google computer and can be searched through the Google website.

"We're even accepting books at our booth here at the Frankfurt Book Fair to save you shipping costs," she told publishers at the world book industry's biggest fair, which began in Germany Wednesday and will run till Sunday.

She said several cartons of books had been collected from publishers at this year's London Book Fair.

Many publishers are suspicious of the programme, which is also scanning old and out-of-print books from university libraries.

Grant said Google did not disclose which industry groups it was meeting or what had been talked about, but added, "We'll talk to anyone who is willing to talk to us."

Publishers can opt out of the programme by withdrawing any or all of their books from the project. Google generally only allows web users to browse five pages of a book at time and stops new searches by a user if more than 20 per cent of a book has been viewed online.

Other security features include asking users to log on and identify themselves.

There is no charge to publishers, but Google offers to share advertising revenue with them and pass over free information about how many internet users look at each book.

"You can start tracking out-of-print books and see if they are worth bringing back into print," she said.

Google began the project because much of the world's knowledge is not on the internet but on the printed page. Only 15 per cent of the world's books are in print, with the rest only available in libraries, Grant said.

"Our goal is to organize the world's information," she said. Google does not disclose how many books it has scanned to date "but it's a lot."

Internet: http://print.google.com/

DPA

Subject: German news

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