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.


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Comments on “Turns Out Putting Your Books On Google Does, Indeed, Help Sales”

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24 Comments
Tashi says:

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.

Monarch says:

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.

chris (profile) says:

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?

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

casey kochmer (user link) says:

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.

casey kochmer (user link) says:

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.

Cleverboy (user link) says:

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!

The Other Guy says:

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!

Roger says:

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.

RabidReader says:

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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