Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

More evidence that Google indexing boosts book sales

Brock Read, Some Publishers Warm to Google Book Search, Chronicle of Higher Education blog, June 5, 2007.

...Publishing houses initially viewed Google’s Book Search, as the project is called, as a serious threat to their economic well-being. Many publishers, it should be said, stick by that assessment. But others have come to appreciate Google’s method for dealing with books under copyright: The search engine typically displays small sections of those books alongside links to sites where the complete texts can be purchased.

This has been so effective, says a representative of Oxford University Press, that “321,000 times in the last two years, people have clicked on an Oxford book saying ‘I want to buy this.’ We spent nothing to do that. That’s why we’re a big fan of this program.”

And to balance the picture, here's more evidence that some publishers mistake indexing and fair-use snippets for reprinting, mistake intellectual property for real property, and somehow get shareholders to accept buffoonery in place of understanding:  From today's issue of Library Journal Academic Newswire:

If you needed another example of how frustrated publishers are with Google's Library Program, look no further than MacMillan CEO Richard Charkin's blog. Last Saturday, at the BookExpo America (BEA) conference in New York's Javits Convention Center, Charkin and a colleague swiped two laptops from Google's booth and documented the whole crazy caper in a post labeled "The Heist." "I confess that a colleague and I simply picked up two computers from the Google stand and waited in close proximity until someone noticed. This took more than an hour." Charkin documented the whole stunt with pictures.

What motivated Charkin's "appalling piece of criminal behavior?" The owner of the computer "had not specifically told us not to steal it. If s/he had, we would not have done so. When s/he asked for its return, we did so." Charkin's point? "That his act of theft "is exactly what Google expects publishers to expect and accept in respect to intellectual property," he wrote. "If you don't tell us we may not digitize something, we shall do so. But we do no evil. So if you tell us to desist we shall." Charkin "felt rather shabby playing this trick on Google, but said that they "should feel the same playing the same trick on authors and publishers." ...