View Full Version : As A Writer, How Do You Feel About Google Books?

09-30-2013, 10:19 PM
On other forums/sites, I've heard writers (namely academic writers) praising Google Books--because it gives the public greater access to their work. In their opinion, Google Books has made their writings accessible to scores of people worldwide, thereby giving such authors more exposure. Some writers also appreciate Google's digital bookstore--from which writers/publishers receive a sizable cut of all proceeds.

To be clear, digitization can be most beneficial when titles are no longer in-print or for rare books--especially in the case of natural disasters, theft, or misplacement.

Yet, not all writers feel this way. Some vehemently oppose Google Books and consider the project a gross violation of the law. Others worry about Google's monopoly on digital books and wonder if Google's future owners/CEOs will stay true to the company's current mission.

What do you think? What role should the courts/government(s) play in all this?
Also, do you think that Google Books is revolutionary?

Here's a video on it:

Robert Darnton is a Harvard librarian who is at the forefront of the book digitization movement.


09-30-2013, 10:20 PM
Indifferent. So long as they follow the law. (Which is not always the case). When they violate copyright, they should get sued into oblivion.

09-30-2013, 10:22 PM
Personally, I think the social benefits of Google scanning everything they can get their CCDs on outweigh individual cases where they're violating copyright. Copyright is always a negotiation between the good of society and the good of creators; we can sort out the disputes as we go along.

EDIT: A parallel case would be Google Street View. Google went around photographing as much of the world as they could, and hoovered up a lot of Wifi data as they went along.

Google Street view is absurdly useful, and the Wifi payload data helps improve all kinds of location-based services by improving the precision of location detection. But both aspects - especially the latter - were controversial (and apparently illegal) enough that Google was sued all over the place. I think we're better off with Google having just gone ahead and been sued than with some kind of situation where they were restrained from doing it in the first place.

09-30-2013, 11:09 PM
Because of Google Books, the Author's Guild has been suing Google.
And, for several years, the two entities have been in and out of the courts.

09-30-2013, 11:18 PM
I don't consider google books at all. not interested.

Caitlin Black
10-01-2013, 01:02 AM
If it gets more people reading, that's got to have follow-on benefits with the new readers buying other books, right?

Not sure how many new readers such a thing would generate, but it might help out slowly.

Aside from that, I don't really know much about Google Books, but what others have said makes sense to me - digitisation isn't a bad thing, provided copyrights are acknowledged legally.

01-03-2014, 01:47 AM
I wonder what the future will be like for Google Books

01-03-2014, 02:42 AM
I'm curious about Google books. How will the future fare for them? Is it really worth it for SP authors to go through hoops and bounds to get their books up on the website?

Something I'll be watching.

01-03-2014, 03:27 AM
I occasionally use Google Books for two reasons. First, to find printed source materials for my nonfiction project. Second, to take notes from books that are posted or previewed there. Overall, I think it's a convenient resource that often spares me the 30-45 minute road trip to one of the local university libraries. I can't think of any occasion in which I used Google Books in order to avoid purchasing a book that I need.

I recently learned that an author cited my M.A. thesis -- which is listed, but not previewed, on Google Books -- for his book on Southeast Asian history. If he discovered my thesis via a Google Books keyword search and then obtained a copy through interlibrary loan or whatever, then that's cool with me.