Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has finally reached an agreement with several book publishers, over the digitalization of books.
For the last seven years, the search engine giant has been battling book companies over the right to digitize every book and add it to Google’s Library Project. Although this agreement is the first step to progress, it’s certainly not the end of the road for either party, as litigation from authors still loom.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s recent agreement with Association of American Publishers has been a long time coming, as people expected it to happen last year. The publishers involved in the litigation include Penguin Group, McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, John Wiley & Suns, and Simon & Schuster.
New York Law School Professor James Grimmelmann explains, “They had this lawsuit hanging around for years, and basically the publishers have all moved on. They are selling digitally now. That’s the future. This just memorializes the transition.”
The purpose of this deal is to allow Google to digitally publish select out-of-print books that are under copyright protection as long as they send a copy to the publisher. The agreement terms sound fair enough, but things could get sticky, since the financial details weren’t disclosed.
This is great news for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) as accessing more books will enable them to expand their library, sell more books, and give them a leg up in competition against Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). Now all Google needs to worry about is making agreements with individual authors before they actually publish the material digitally. Whether they decide to do that or not remains to be seen.
Digitalizing books is just one way to enhance their company. They need to work with the individual publishers to prevent future lawsuits because they could lose a lot of money. Fortunately, I doubt that they have too much to worry about. Most authors realize that publishing books online is the only way to go. More people buy their digital books, than they do traditional hardbacks or paperbacks. It’s not only often cheaper to purchase digital books, it’s also more convenient. It makes more sense to purchase a couple of books on the iPad or Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s Kindle for less than $20, than it does to actually drive to the mall and purchase the latest hardback novel for $20 or more.