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Publisher Realizes Google Books Isn't Evil, But Quite Beneficial

from the good-for-them dept

From the beginning, we've been confused why book publishers were so against Google's Book search. When you realize that it's really a giant (and much, much, much better) card catalog that helps people find and discover more books, it's only a short leap to realize that it should help publishers more than hurt them. And, indeed, a few empirical studies have found that embracing Google Books has helped sales. But, for many publishers this has, apparently, been tough to understand. Thankfully, it looks like some are coming around. Gerd Leonhard points us to a blog post by the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael Hyatt, where he explains why authors, agents, and publishers should embrace Google Book search.

It was based on someone from Google visiting the company and explaining Google Books. While it's a little depressing that publishers have to wait for a person from Google to show up in person to explain what's been discussed at length for years by Google and many, many others, it's great to see that it worked in this case. Hyatt admits that he went into the meeting quite skeptical, but came out convinced. He notes that the two reasons given by publishers and authors against Google Books (people can just read the books online instead of buy them, or they can print them out) are simply not true. From the meeting he realized four key points (all of which Google made clear when all this launched, but many have simply ignored the facts):
  1. Google Book Search creates greater book awareness.
  2. The biggest problem authors face today is obscurity not piracy.
  3. Most people have no desire to read a book on their computer.
  4. Google only allows users to preview 20 percent of a book’s content.
Hyatt concludes with a plea to others to embrace Google Book search, noting that by embracing it, the publishing industry will realize that their content becomes "more relevant than ever." Kudos to Hyatt for changing his mind and explaining his reasons.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    TSO, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 9:13am

    They also need to realize...

    Admittedly, I prefer to read books on the computer, and I hate the idea of paying beforehand. BUT, it does not mean I'm a freeloader: if I consider the book good, I certainly would be looking to compensate the author a) by tipping (I DO NOT WANT DEAD TREES IN MY HOME, so buying a physical book is not an option) and b) by promoting it to friends and colleagues.

    Come on, how hard it is to set up a tip jar for the book on the publisher's webpage? I mean, by all means sell books and stuff but ALSO set a tip jar dammit! It's cheap if not free!

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 9:39am

    news flash: new fangled motorized buggy very good for delivering buggy whips. film at 11.

     

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  3.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 9:45am

    Re:

    Hehe... funny, though not really a good analogy in this instance I don't think.

     

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  4.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 9:49am

    Re: They also need to realize...

    "I DO NOT WANT DEAD TREES IN MY HOME"

    Question - is your house a wood frame house?

     

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  5.  
    icon
    Designerfx (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 9:57am

    20 percent

    that 20% part is a problem too. What if you want to read an entire book? You can't.

    So yes, obscurity issues? taken care of. Preservation of info? Not so much.

    That 20% seems to apply to public domain stuff when google lists it too.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    TSO, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: They also need to realize...

    > Question - is your house a wood frame house?

    Last time I checked, it's a concrete building. :-b

    Not everybody in the world (or even in US) lives in a personal clamshell, thank you very much. :-b

     

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  7.  
    icon
    Jupiter (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Google Books - the world's biggest library

    I just wrote an article for a magazine about a playwright, and because of a tight deadline I couldn't scrounge around libraries for research material and hunt through book indexes hoping to find something relevant. I did all my research with Google Books, which thanks to being searchable finding exactly what I wanted was really easy.

    Granted, I didn't buy any of the books in question, but I wasn't going to buy any books anyway just to write an article. However, I did reference all the books I quoted from, giving those books some visibility and perhaps making a sale to someone that reads the article.

    The sad part was how few of the books I could actually read on Google Books. Most were snippet view (useless) or nothing at all. The books I couldn't access were basically non-existent to me. That's what the publishers need to figure out. The day will come where if a book isn't readable online, it may as well not be published. Google books is good for books.

     

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  8.  
    icon
    mike42 (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: They also need to realize...

    Does it have drywall? Paneling? interior walls?
    You got wood.

    PS WTF is a personal clamshell?

     

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  9.  
    icon
    Comboman (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 10:36am

    Print them out?!?

    He notes that the two reasons given by publishers and authors against Google Books (people can just read the books online instead of buy them, or they can print them out) are simply not true.

    Even if it were true, what idiot would print out an ebook? That's like downloading an MP3 and copying it to cassette.

     

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  10.  
    icon
    iamtheky (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 10:43am

    RE: Google Books - the world's biggest library

    "I just wrote an article for a magazine about a playwright, and because of a tight deadline I couldn't scrounge around libraries for research material and hunt through book indexes hoping to find something relevant."

    So you wrote an article with all the material you could google in a limited amount of time? sounds like a publication with the highest of standards.

    I hope you referenced the links and not the books, lest you be one of the thousands to discover something scanned in or linked incorrectly. http://chronicle.com/article/Googles-Book-Search-A/48245/

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Kazi, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:59am

    Re: RE: Google Books - the world's biggest library

    I'm sure a moron in a hurry knows the difference between metadata and the actual text of a book.

    Google Books scans a copy of 'the' book. It doesn't really reformat the text nor change it's publication date. Therefore, the book, if when scanned, had it's original publication page data will have that original publication page data.

    It's like you're telling people that the actual manuscript of a book has less errors than the actual book. Therefore, people should use the manuscript. Sort of pointless. Just like the manuscript makes it possible to publish millions of books the published millions of books make it possible for digital copies of that same material.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    TSO, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: They also need to realize...

    Yes I do, in the form of particle board that makes up my furniture. Next question?

     

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  13.  
    icon
    V (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    Re: They also need to realize...

    Do you have kitchen cabinets? Bathroom cabinets? What about the framing around your sink and counter tops? Do you receive ZERO mail...last time I checked all mail that ships is made of dead trees. What about your shampoo and detergents, a lot of that stuff comes from organic compounds, most likely small trees or GASP dead plants.

    I have to say your dead tree statement has to be the most retarded comment and belief on the internet...

    /facepalm

     

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  14.  
    icon
    gojomo (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    Google Books Search vs. Google Books Settlement

    Headline/copy should distinguish between Google Books Search and the Google Books Settlement.

    Search is an unalloyed good. The Settlement, which uses the class-action process to grant the market leader a de facto monopoly on scanning certain kinds of books, doesn't automatically deserve the same praise.

     

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  15.  
    icon
    MikeS (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    Next thing you know, publishers will go after Libraries because everyone can borrow the books for free.

     

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  16.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: They also need to realize...

    Maybe try a little contextual reading and realize he is talking about "dead tree editions" of books.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 2:52pm

    Re:

    no because the library cant give them same book to a million people at the same time. physical limitations make the losses from a lending library tolerable. if each person takes the book for a week, only maybe 50 people per year can borrow it. system is self limiting. google is not at all limiting. different no?

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    It all depends upon the book. I don't want to read fiction on my computer, but I love to get the 10% of technical books that I need for free. I would guess that publishers like O'Reilly should hate Google Books because I rarely read more than 5% of their books.

    But that's why I joined their Safari program.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    China, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re: They also need to realize...

    Hahahaha. He gotcha there, eh.

     

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  20.  
    icon
    dancingumbrella (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 3:33pm

    Sounds like a win win situation to me

    So, if someone can find the info they need in the 20% of the book that Google Book Search allows to be seen, then they can use that information for free. But, if they don't find exactly what they need but think they might find it in that particular book, more people are apt to go out and pay money for a copy of the book because more people now know of its availability? Due to Google Book Search!
    How much does GBS get?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anon, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 4:03pm

    I have to say your dead tree statement has to be the most retarded comment and belief on the internet...
    Wow, it must be your first day. Welcome to the internet!

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes, let's all go back to the dark ages. Authors were much safer then. Or perhaps we can all become Amish.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Re:

    An online searchable resource collecting every book ever printed? What a stupid idea. I don't think this "Google" company is going to go very far by stealing from all those poor authors.

    Sorry, I've been in a coma for the past decade but I know I'm right.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    RPM, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: They also need to realize...

    Nope...bricks and cement. You?

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    RPM, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: They also need to realize...

    Ok, maybe try imagining a personal above-ground cave...as opposed to the building with multiple family living quarters

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    RPM, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re: They also need to realize...

    1) Do you have kitchen cabinets? Nope, I have a built-in pantry made from cement.
    2) Bathroom cabinets? See above
    3) What about the framing around your sink and counter tops? Nope, why would someone need "framing"?
    4)Do you receive ZERO mail - Correct, no dead tree mail. If someone has something to say to me, they use phone, email or in person (that includes the guberment). However, I can't help the spam mail that does come in, but I burn that to ashes as soon as I can.
    5) What about your shampoo and detergents - I'm one with nature and don't use shampoo or detergents. I take a bath in the pond on my property using plain water. I assume the detergent is for clothes? If so, I don't own clothes, I'm a nudist.

    I have to say your dead tree statement has to be the most retarded comment and belief on the internet...[and I have to say that your world-view is very limited to your concept of "normal" and "right way to do things" for some reason you can't imagine people living differently than you]

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    RPM, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 7:53am

    Re: Google Books - the world's biggest library

    You're making the assumption that the publisher's want their books' existence acknowledged by you. Last I heard they want to make MONEY and don't need freeloaders like you finding their books, reading them and then not paying for them. You're the perfect example of what they are fighting against.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    RPM, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 7:56am

    Re: Print them out?!?

    Not necessarily....I know people who have printed out books to read and reference them when they are out of Internet range. If it was just fiction or novels you are probably right, but mechanical manuals and such are harder to use if they are not accessible in the field.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    RPM, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm sorry...did you say you were in a coma? or still in a coma....where you think your fantasy is real?

    The issue at hand isn't the searchable resource part...it's the displaying the full text of the resource. If Google had simply re-created the catalog system on their site and incorporated all magazines and books there wouldn't be an issue.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    RPM, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 8:08am

    Re:

    LMAO

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    wastedtime (profile), Apr 7th, 2010 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: They also need to realize...

    Particle board.... hmm. Just a few gases there floating around in your virtuous house.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    RPM, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 8:13am

    Re: Sounds like a win win situation to me

    I've waded through Google Book Search and from what I understand, it is possible to read the entire book, not just the 20%. Here's how you do it.....you simply keep searching the book for keywords that will make the remaining 80% visible. So you can type in "Chapter 1" and chapter one is visible. Type in "Chapter 2" and now chapter two is visible and so on until you've read the entire book....neat, huh?

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: They also need to realize...

    Lollipops and rainbows!

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Maciej (ma-chi), Apr 7th, 2010 @ 12:45pm

    So who will be the first to start closing stores Barnes & Noble or Borders?

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 1:55pm

    Re: They also need to realize...

    Professionals shouldn't need tip jars or charity.

    Your insinuation that you would pay your share if only they would do this or that is nothing but a self-rationalizing ruse to help yet another freeloader sleep at night.

    Why not take your own advice and give away whatever service or product you make and put up a tip jar for compensation? I would be interested (amused) in seeing how long you last with this model.

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    Louis (profile), May 2nd, 2010 @ 11:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: They also need to realize...

    In my condo, the walls are concrete. I do have drywall, but the studs are metal. Less risk of fire that way.

     

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


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