Books go digital with Google

In recent months, Google has been working diligently to digitize the print world. Google has scanned millions of works and successfully digitized them for its new Book Search program, allowing for the contents of the books to be searchable and available on the internet.

Like many of Google’s recent business ventures, the Book Search Program has not gone without some controversy. There have been arguments over ethical as well as legal issues surrounding the program.
Finally, American publishers and authors have reached an agreement with Google in a settlement over Google’s Book Search program. The settlement will allow Google to sell electronic versions of copyrighted works that have gone out of print. This agreement is still subject to court approval.

If the agreement meets the courts approval, it marks the largest publishing deal and creates essentially the largest bookstore in the world. The online bookshop will operate only in the United States initially according to the arrangement.

In an article in the New York Times, Eric Pfanner commented that the Google Book Search program is the biggest technological leap since Gutenberg’s moveable type. What is happening to the publishing and printing industry happened first to the music industry.

As technology and the search industry advances, new practices will be implemented continuously. People fear change, and it sometimes creates temporary setbacks that must be addressed and corrected, yet it is all a part of progress in the big picture.

There is the possibility of online book packages much like Netflix, and advertising revenue will be a revenue boost for publishers and authors online as well. Google’s Book Search program is creating the world’s largest library, and preserving a vast amount of world knowledge into a permanent database that will last forever.

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