With all the arguing over Google's plan to scan various library books (not to be confused with their Google Print offering -- which is slightly different), it looks like Google is trying to appease publishers in another way: by setting up a business model that lets publishers potentially profit from online book reading. The idea, apparently, is to rent out books online, a week at a time for 10% of the cover price. Consider it something of a response to Amazon's plan to sell books by the page online. Of course, the publishers who already aren't happy with Google balked at the price. Apparently getting only 10% of the cover price for a book that costs them nothing to print, bind and ship for only one week's viewing, just isn't enough. If true, this is incredible short-sighted on the publisher's part. Not that it's clear very many people would want to rent books for a week online (especially when the same books are available for free at the library -- often for longer than a week). However, if the reasoning really is because of the price, than the publishers have bigger problems to worry about. Assuming (perhaps a big assumption) people really are interested in this offering, publishers would make a lot more money, as just a few rentals more than covers the price of the book at almost no cost to the publisher. They wouldn't even need to rent out a book 10 times, since only a single book is needed for scanning, and thus, they're saving money on the cost side. No wonder these execs went into publishing. Their math skills seem a bit rusty.
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