Turns Out Putting Your Books On Google Does, Indeed, Help Sales

from the and-so-it-goes dept

We've never quite understood why some people have so much trouble understanding why it's a good thing when search engines point people in their direction. Lately it's been all about those Belgian newspaper publishers, but the big fight before that was with book publishers. As you probably recall, Google began an ambitious project recently to scan a bunch of books, in order to create the equivalent of a huge online card catalog. It seemed like a great way to help people find books the same way they found web pages. Unfortunately, a bunch of publishers freaked out and sued Google, complaining that it was illegal for Google to point people to their books. They're accusing Google of harming their business with copyright infringement, despite the fact that no one can use Google Print or Google Library to actually read more than a small snippet (back in the day, we used to call that "fair use") of a book, and it makes it that much easier for people to find and buy books. Luckily a few publishers have realized how this can be beneficial, and they're now speaking up to say that Google's Book Search has helped to "significantly" increase sales. This really shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, just like with the web, making it easier for someone to find you and your content tends to drive more business. Yet, mainly due to jealousy that they're not getting an upfront payment, many publishers will continue to protest this service that would otherwise help them.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Gwen, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 10:14am

    Jealousy???

    More like out and out greed.

     

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  2.  
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    Ender, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 10:43am

    Re: Jealousy???

    No, if it was greed then the the publishers would support Google in order to 'significantly' boost sales and thus increase their revenue. They're protesting because they want LESS money, which sounds like idiocy to me.

     

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  3.  
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    Spoon, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 11:03am

    They're just running to protect their assets instead of completely researching the thing. It's business instinct, really.

     

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  4.  
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    Tashi, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 11:14am

    I'm an avid reader. As a kid my mom dragged me around on all her errands, on which one stop was the library. If I misbehaved, that was 2 ass kickings. One from her and one from my dad when we got home. So I learned to sit and read quietly, and I really liked it.

    Some 20+ years later after beginning my programming hobby on the TI99, and 2 years of grad school online, I HATE reading on a computer screen., and I don't particularly like digital manuals. Give me an old fashioned book any day.

    That said, Google Books is a great resource for me to peruse digital versions of hardcopy books I may actually buy, and it's too bad many people have a caveman mentality about new technology and new business models. It's like the explorer that shows a group of natives some piece of technology and they all run away because they fear what they don't know.

     

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  5.  
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    Monarch, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 11:41am

    How can you help it if the average IQ is below 100. Unfortunately, people with average IQ's quite often rise to prominent positions within companies, because they are just smart enough to kiss butt and back stab their way there. Either that or their geneology put them there. They can't help it if their intelligence and common sense can't kick in to see the benefits.

     

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  6.  
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    Geoffrey Kidd, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 12:17pm

    ??? How does something they don't have kick in?

     

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  7.  
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    VPR, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 12:20pm

    ...and all this time I thought the internet was about information...and porn.

     

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  8.  
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    chris (profile), Oct 6th, 2006 @ 12:26pm

    google infringes copyright all the time

    and no one cares.

    you know the cached pages? they are an exact copy of a website. google has billions of cached pages, exact copies of someone else's pages, which they did not obtain permission to use. the thing is, it does no harm, and google doesn't pass it off as their own, nor do they try to sell those pages... and it helps people's businesses, so no one cares.

    why should having whole copies of books be any different?

     

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  9.  
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    casey kochmer, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 12:59pm

    Publishers are tech phobic

    I have been a published author before and the main reason the publishers are afraid of Google books is ignorance.

    1) They are behind the curve in using technology so any new tech isn't embrace.
    2) Most publishers use systems and flow processes which are person intensive.
    This also means the number of people involved in making decisions is at the herd level. Basically a herd isn't very smart.
    3) Lawyers. Copyright law is a bitch. Anything which opens up information is considered to be a bad thing.

    I remember when I tried to get my first tech book published electronically and it was a fun process to convince a tech publisher it was in their best interest to get internet people to view books online.

    Anyways so it will be 5 years before the majority of the publishers get it...After the few smart ones clean up.

    I think Google books is great. In fact I threw my book: A Personal Tao up there as quickly as I could.
    The simple fact is visibility is key to getting sales. Even in my case where I don't sale the book, it is great for visibility.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    casey kochmer, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 1:00pm

    Publishers are tech phobic

    I have been a published author before and the main reason the publishers are afraid of Google books is ignorance.

    1) They are behind the curve in using technology so any new tech isn't embrace.
    2) Most publishers use systems and flow processes which are person intensive.
    This also means the number of people involved in making decisions is at the herd level. Basically a herd isn't very smart.
    3) Lawyers. Copyright law is a bitch. Anything which opens up information is considered to be a bad thing.

    I remember when I tried to get my first tech book published electronically and it was a fun process to convince a tech publisher it was in their best interest to get internet people to view books online.

    Anyways so it will be 5 years before the majority of the publishers get it...After the few smart ones clean up.

    I think Google books is great. In fact I threw my book: A Personal Tao up there as quickly as I could.
    The simple fact is visibility is key to getting sales. Even in my case where I don't sale the book, it is great for visibility.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    casey kochmer, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 1:02pm

    dang

    I hate being a noob like accidental double entry comment person...

    It just invalidates teh strenght of ones posts...

    oh well

    my bad

     

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  12.  
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    Just me..., Oct 6th, 2006 @ 1:13pm

    Re: dang

    "It just invalidates teh strenght of ones posts..."


    So does bad spelling.

     

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  13.  
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    Aaron, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 1:18pm

    Baen has been putting their books out for free

    Baen publishing has been publishing many of their novels online for a long time now. And I mean FREE. They have found that all of their books put out for free have generated repeat sales in "book form".

    Google is only creating sales for these books. The publishers need to recognize this.

     

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  14.  
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    casey kochmer, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 1:55pm

    :) to 12

    I know, thats why editors exist in the publishing bizness... :) who needs spelling?

    :)

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 2:16pm

    Re:

    By definition, the average IQ is 100...

     

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  16.  
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    Tashi, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Publishers are tech phobic

    I enjoy reading eastern philosophy. In fact one of my favorite books is The Wandering Taoist. So I'll be sure to check your book out. Google Books at work. :)

     

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  17.  
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    Cleverboy, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 5:48pm

    Only in this World...

    Only in this wonderful world we live in would people get bent out of shape that no one is paying them to find them.

    I think the 9/11 Report, which was put out for FREE in electronic form, and turned into good business for those savvy individuals that sold printed copies... clearly showed that people prefer to find things electronically and read them traditionally. I remember playing Quake til my eye-balls bled... but that's no way to read War and Peace... never mind the fact its only a snippet.

    Silly publishers and misguided authors... I wonder how the news organizations that asked to be removed from Google are doing for traffic. DAMN YOU Google, stop showing where to find these people!

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2006 @ 6:34pm

    Re: google infringes copyright all the time

    Hey, by your same logic, every time you browse a site you commit copyright infringement (your browser caches every page).

    Thankfully, every other person that has thought about this has come to the conclusion that there is no infringment taking place.

     

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  19.  
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    The Other Guy, Oct 9th, 2006 @ 5:20am

    First Google- then...

    So Google only allows the user to read a small portion of the book.

    ... yes I can see how that would drive sales.


    I wonder- could the publishers be afraid that Yahoo will come back and offer whole chapters- or MSN come back and offer the whole book... or ask.com come back with the whole book and put out commercials of Chimpanzees reading the book online.


    Perhaps the fear is not google, but what this opens the flood gates to.



    Not that THAT would necessarily be bad for business- but if the record companies are a usefull comparisson- the publishers won't like that!

     

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  20.  
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    chris (profile), Oct 16th, 2006 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: google infringes copyright all the time

    Hey, by your same logic, every time you browse a site you commit copyright infringement (your browser caches every page).

    the probelm isn't with making copies, the problem is with making money off those copies. which google does BTW with it's ads.

     

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  21.  
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    ben, Oct 19th, 2006 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: Re: google infringes copyright all the tim

    the probelm isn't with making copies, the problem is with making money off those copies. which google does BTW with it's ads.

    You can, too, and no one will care about that either.

     

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  22.  
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    satan, Oct 29th, 2006 @ 4:55am

    those that complain..

    Should be banned forever from google. Let their business die a cold death along with all their books.

     

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  23.  
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    Roger, Mar 6th, 2007 @ 5:23am

    why services as google print are not accepted

    the problem is the publishers did not come up with the idea themselves. It is common knowledge that there is opposition to any change, good and bad you try to accomplish. If someone else has an idea , you think it sure has some disadvantages for you and only advantages for the imposer.
    The idea some is going to make profit on your behalve is unacceptable for most..though many times they just don't understand or don't know the implications..
    The problem with google is they don't sell their idea's but just implement them ,hoping everybody understands what they are doing for the good of everyone.

     

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  24.  
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    RabidReader, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 6:22pm

    Google Books

    Google is right for doing this.
    Book publishers and writers dont complain when customers read through a snippet of their book when it is sitting on the shelf at the B&N. Google books is like going to the bookstore and browsing. And ive bought books because i was able to browse on gooogle books. so i think its a good idea. Plus, its nice to read books that are pre 1900.

     

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