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Old 10-28-2008, 12:19 PM   #1
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Authors Guild and Google reach settlement: Millions of scanned books to be available.

In 2005, Google was sued by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers for their ambitious program to scan millions of books from university libraries and make them available for viewing online.

Today they have announced a settlement, and it's excellent: Google will make all books available in full online (some for a fee) and authors will get a share of the revenue! (Authors are also allowed to opt out.) Public libraries will all get a free view-only license, while universities will be able to buy subscriptions allowing free access from campus.

From what I can see, the agreement so far only involves being able to VIEW the books in their entirety, but the agreement specifically anticipates further deals being made in the future. So it may be only a matter of time until we can download any of this vast array of digital e-books from Google for a fee!

You can find coverage of the settlement on PC World and from the New York Times. The Authors Guild also has an official announcement page with substantially more details. The deal has yet to be approved by the U.S. District Court.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:21 PM   #2
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I am not sure it is likely we will ever reach the point of being able to download them; publishers will still want to sell the books if possible. Not very easy to do if you can download it for free and then convert it to your format of choice.

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Old 10-28-2008, 12:24 PM   #3
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What a coincidence, as we were discussing this only yesterday. Well, I zoomed back to www.books.google.com but the 2 books I looked at yesterday are still not complete and have the blanked out pages.

I wonder when the full texts will be available?
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DixieGal View Post
What a coincidence, as we were discussing this only yesterday. Well, I zoomed back to www.books.google.com but the 2 books I looked at yesterday are still not complete and have the blanked out pages.

I wonder when the full texts will be available?
I looked at the FAQ released on the Authors Guild site and saw this:
Quote:
14. How long will it take for these new services to become publicly available?

Before any of these services can be made publicly available, the settlement needs approval by the court before which the class action is pending. Once authorized, Google and the Book Rights Registry will be working to launch these services as soon as possible.
They also say that the agreement will only affect Google Books for U.S. users. Users from other countries will not get access to these features (yet, at least).
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:34 PM   #5
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This is what needs to happen:

1. Users pay $5 - $15 per month for a full access subscription

2. Authors can opt out, but by default all books are available from within a Kindle like E-Ink reader, or as view only using any browser.

3. Small fee possible or free for download in any number of formats if Author opts in for free download or paying download, price per download is authors decision. The idea, is if Author provides free download, he might get a larger share from that big $5 and $15 as well as ad revenue, a bigger share then just being part of the viewing only deal.


- Thing is, by viewing deal only, Google knows exactly which pages people are reading, for how long people are viewing each page, thus Google can know if users are really reading the whole book or just skimming it. Which compensates the author differently. If the book is completely read, this gives the author maximum compensation.

- The author can decide to display advertisment or not throughout their content in view mode which may or may not provide them with more revenue, especially when people just search for words within their book. Though choosing ad-free can make the book more readable in view mode by more people. Also the ad-free viewing might require the subscription while ad-supported could be freely available to everyone without a subscription needed.


Now what needs to happen is this, just as with Android OS, or based on Android OS, Google needs to make an E-Ink HSDPA/EVDO operating system standard that has full support for this subscription based and advertising based full web text access system.

This is how things should be, for a fixed $5 or $15 monthly fee, all users should have complete full access to all books, all newspapers, all blogs, basically all text ever written by anyone ever on the whole Internet, everywhere ever written. And all of it has to be instantly available on an Internet connected E-Ink device, like a Google version of a Kindle, or a firmware update for the Kindle.

Paying $10 per e-book is too expensive, paying $4 per newspaper edition is too expensive, paying $1.5 per blog per month is too expensive. Access to all the worlds content needs to be all included in a fixed affordable monthly subscription, and also monetized using advertisment. Or for authors that absolutely want pay-per-view or pay-per-download, they can opt for it.

But quickly all authors will see, they earn the most money by putting all of their content out there part of the free ads-free subscription based monetization.

This will revolutionize blogging, since if your blogging gets read, you will get it monetized automatically in a huge way.

Google needs to do this for music, for video, for movies, for pictures, for art and for everything.
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:23 AM   #6
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From the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology...line-royalties

Quote:
After searching for books via Google, users will be offered free samples of chosen titles, with the option to buy more. Although it is as yet unclear how much books will cost to download, a royalty organisation, the Book Rights Registry, will take payments from Google (after it has taken a 37% cut) and distribute them to the authors and publishers. "This historic settlement is a win for everyone," said Richard Sarnoff, chairman of the publishers association. "It's hard work writing a book, and even harder work getting paid for it," said Roy Blount, president of the guild. "This deal makes good sense."

...

To start with, the scheme will be targeted at universities and organisations which will pay large institutional subscriptions on behalf of students and researchers. But the deal also enables ordinary customers to download any of the 7m books already scanned into Google's database.
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill_mchale View Post
I am not sure it is likely we will ever reach the point of being able to download them; publishers will still want to sell the books if possible. Not very easy to do if you can download it for free and then convert it to your format of choice.
Even the ones you can read all of will be problematic for download/convert. They have PDFs which are essentially scanned page images, and a "View as plain text option", but the plain text would require a lot of editing and cleanup. (I grabbed a copy of Max Weber's _The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism_ with a view to converting, and gave up when I saw the work required.)
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:58 AM   #8
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One bit not mentioned here: as part of the deal, Google is contributing $125 million to the creation of a Book Rights Repository. Part of the problem with making any book available is getting the rights to do so. With publishers going out of business or being acquired, it can be hard to discover who actually holds the rights to a particular title. There's a fair amount of work technically still under copyright and requiring permission to make available, but who do you ask? The author is dead, the publisher is out of business, and nobody knows who handles the estate...

This is intended to be a place to collect that information. Since it's Google, we can anticipate that it will be searchable. It will be a boon for places like Project Gutenberg, who must make sure a work is not still in copyright before releasing an etext, and others who might like to return a book to publication but can't find the rights holder to make a deal to do it.
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Old 10-29-2008, 01:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
One bit not mentioned here: as part of the deal, Google is contributing $125 million to the creation of a Book Rights Repository. Part of the problem with making any book available is getting the rights to do so. With publishers going out of business or being acquired, it can be hard to discover who actually holds the rights to a particular title. There's a fair amount of work technically still under copyright and requiring permission to make available, but who do you ask? The author is dead, the publisher is out of business, and nobody knows who handles the estate...
Yes. Part of what I like about this deal is that books become part of the system by default, and any royalties are automatically collected and held in trust for the author until a long time has passed. So basically, it's a way to make the books available, respect copyright, and collect royalties, even if the copyright holder can't be found. It's a great win for everyone who gets access to those books, and yet still a win for copyright holders too.
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Old 10-29-2008, 01:29 AM   #10
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I really wish that Google would start providing all its books in epub format.
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
Even the ones you can read all of will be problematic for download/convert. They have PDFs which are essentially scanned page images, and a "View as plain text option", but the plain text would require a lot of editing and cleanup. (I grabbed a copy of Max Weber's _The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism_ with a view to converting, and gave up when I saw the work required.)
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an english translation?
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:15 AM   #12
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A scanned page image is essentially a photograph or picture of the page. Like a picture it is not seen as text (characters) by the ebook program. What you have to do is run the scanned pages through an OCR program to convert the images to text so that it is treated as text instead of an image. The "gotcha" is that conversion usually results in many errors that require a human to edit the text. I can't tell you how many ebooks I've read that are poorly converted scanned pages. And these are from legitimate publishers.
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:45 AM   #13
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From personal P.D. scanning work experience, the OCr cleanup is 80-90 percent of the work....
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:05 AM   #14
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I just can't even start imagining how will Google acomplish the task of geting all books, magazines, newspapers in text format. As said above, the OCR and editing/cleanup is very time consuming. Multiply that for bilions of books and other writen media... My head hurts.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:29 AM   #15
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I just can't even start imagining how will Google acomplish the task of geting all books, magazines, newspapers in text format. As said above, the OCR and editing/cleanup is very time consuming. Multiply that for bilions of books and other writen media... My head hurts.
Google should turn to a community based collaborative approach. Where anyone who contribute over a certain quota get time-limited access to the whole archive.
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