Google Wants To Rent Books Online?

from the stage-II dept

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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Comments on “Google Wants To Rent Books Online?”

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dorpus says:

Making the World Easier for Demagogues

So in other words, it is now easier for neo-nazis, Muslim fundamentalists, and other fanatics to publish books, because there are no longer ethical publishers to stop them. We can expect to see many more books with fabricated quotes, doctored photos, and other misinformation, because no editor will be there to check facts.

Tatteredm says:

Re: Making the World Easier for Demagogues

Isn’t this the way it works anyways? If you’re a neo-nazi, just pay $200 to a print-your-own press, and you’re published. Publishers are the middle-man, filtering out books not based on ethics, but on politics and economics. “Will this make me money?” is asked more often that “Is this a quality book?”

Either way, Google won’t affect this process. They’ll just lessen the amount of royalties the author recieves.

Boondocks says:

Rent books on line

I don’t know enough about the publishing business to comment on what the others have written. I just know I am excited about being able to rent books online as I live a bit in the boondocks, and don’t often have access to the big bookstores. I know I could order books online to buy or rent, but when you really want a good book to read today, waiting a week or more for the book to arrive just doesn’t fit the bill.

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