Monday, November 28, 2005

Google Books hysteria hits The Times

It's embarrassing to see columnists of the quality of William Rees-Mogg, former editor of The Times, completely missing the point on Google Books. Nor does it help the debate to have such misinformation published on the main editorial pages of a newspaper with nearly a million readers:
Obviously, there is a strong case for the universal library that Google wants to create. No one wants to stand in the way of the diffusion of knowledge. But the cost would be too high if the future publication of books, particularly learned books, was prejudiced. I am an interested party, at the interface between university authors and university libraries. So far as I am concerned, Google must accept the rights in intellectual property. The survival of the book depends on that.
Google is indexing books still under copyright from major university libraries, not making their contents available online. This will allow Google users to find text in books in exactly the same way as they search the Web. It will not allow them to see more than a few sentences from that book. Users will still need to borrow or buy books that they find using this search facility if they wish to access the book's contents.

This will certainly make the books that have been indexed much easier to search. It is likely to improve their sales, not damage the publishing market.

No comments: