Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Publisher division deepening on Google book-scanning

VNU Staff, Publishers call for library digitisation boycott at Book Fair, Information World Review, March 10, 2006. Excerpt:
Google used the London Book Fair (LBF) as a platform to reach out to a wary book trade, as it revealed plans to expand its controversial Library Project to include European libraries. On the eve of the fair, Bloomsbury, which includes Whos'e Who publisher A&C Black , c.e.o. Nigel Newton called on the industry to boycott Google's search engine "until it desists from its present misguided mission in the world of books". He described Google as "a false prophet" engaged in "acts of 'kleptomania'". But Jens Redmer, director of Google Book Search in Europe, told IWR sister title The Bookseller that Google is talking to further library partners in all major European countries. Google is currently working with only four American libraries and the Bodleian in Oxford. Redmer added that in-copyright works would not be scanned in Europe, where copyright laws are "significantly different" to the US.

Meanwhile, publishers involved in Google Book Search reported increased backlist sales at an LBF session hosted by the search engine....Blackwell's has put 5,000 titles into Google Book Search and has had 57,344 "buy this book" click-throughs. "The high rate of 'buy this book' clicks is translating into small sales for our deep backlist," said book sales director Ed Crutchley at a Monday session. HarperCollins US, a business and humanities publisher has put 6,000 titles into the programme. Group president Brian Murray said Google has delivered over six million page views in 16 months. Murray added that, although they had not seen much income from related advertising, the initiative was more about marketing. "It drives highly-qualified traffic to our site. The results suggest it leads to book purchase and intuitively we believe this."

PS: Some publishers are acting on a faith-based fear of harm and some are acting on an evidence-based record of benefit.