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.

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Publisher Realizes Google Books Isn't Evil, But Quite Beneficial”

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TSO says:

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!

V (profile) says:

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…


RPM says:

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]

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Jupiter (profile) says:

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.

RPM says:

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.

iamtheky (profile) says:

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.

Kazi says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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?

RPM says:

Re: 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.

dancingumbrella (profile) says:

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?

RPM says:

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… 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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