Google Books are part of the Google Books Library Project that aims to provide digital information and in some cases entire digital versions of books formerly in print. This is through a partnership with several libraries and attempts to create a universal digital card catalogue.
Which books become digitized?
Whether entire books, snippets or basic information appear about a book depend on the status of that work’s copyright. Older books that are out of copyright project are digitized in full and available for viewing and downloading. Books entered into the system are searchable and a “snippet” view will show the sentences around the term if the entire book is still under copyright. Links are available to buy or borrow the book from various vendors and libraries.
How does Google receive works to be digitized?
Google has several library partners from academic and government institutions in the US, Europe and Japan. These institutions have various levels of participation on the project but generally a partnership gives Google access to the libraries’ collection of books. Google uses a high speed camera to capture all the pages in the book and then process the information using text recognition software. Entries with bibliographic and subject information are created and achieved.
How do I become a partner in the project?
Google maintains an electronic form for authors and publishers for authors planning to submit their works to Google Books.
What is the legal controversy over Google Books?
Google has maintained a “partnership” program with a number of authors and publishers to allow books to be digitized and entered into the Google Books Library Project. Despite this partnership, concern of Google’s practices resulted in a copyright infringement class action lawsuit brought by many of the program’s partners as well as the Author’s Guild, Association of American publishers and several individuals. Publishers were unhappy that Google had scanned their works and although not providing full access, nonetheless saved the completed works in its database. This led to fears that Google could someday profit from these complete scanned works by offering subscriptions to access the database. There are additional concerns about use privacy and accusations that Google had not done enough to protect users of Google Books services.
Google has countered these claims by insisting that the Google Books Project is intend to create awareness about books still under copyright and link potential readers with books that match topics that interest them. Google Books already has ads that would direct readers to vendors where they can buy the book they are previewing. Additionally, Google stresses the fact that only snippets and bibliographic information is displayed which is admissible under “fair use” provisions of US copyright law. Google also claims no profit from providing this resource.
The terms of settlement remain resolved at the time of this article’s writing. To keep up to date on the development please visit Google Book’s legal page at https://books.google.com/googlebooks/agreement/.