Google Books Finally OK’d for Launch… 10 Years Later

Categories: Uncategorized

Nearly a decade after Google decided to improve literacy and bring the publishing world (kicking and screaming) into the digital age, the lawsuits preventing it from doing so have been cleared out of the way.

In the meantime, Amazon and the Kindle platform have become a dominant force in the publishing industry… and ePub is threatening to take even more leverage out of the hands of the very publishers who brought the legal challenges in 2004 to stop those greedy folks at Google from damaging their industry.

Frankly, it’s sad and ridiculous that traditional publishers were so hostile to digital publishing — an attitude that may be their undoing.

It reminds me of one of my favorite marketerisms: Pioneers get scalped, while settlers prosper.

In this case, Google got legally scalped, simply because they were the first to try something. Their goal was reasonably altruistic, to scan excerpts from every book know to man and post it online, with links to where users could purchase these books.

Somehow, that was viewed by the very weary publishing industry as a copyright infringement tactic. As they tied up the Google Book project in court, the “settlers” like Amazon, learned from Google’s missteps and found a clear path to dominating digital book sales.

As things stand now, the traditional publishing industry is probably wishing they’d worked with Google and embraced the technology that is now making them work overtime to scrape by and survive. In fact, according to New York Law School Prof., James Grimmelmann;

“The publicly described terms sound indistinguishable from the terms Google has offered to its print partners for years. If that’s all, it’s hard to understand why this deal took so long.”

Funny how time changes things…

Sure, this 10-year legal battle hurt Google; it missed out on an opportunity to get into the digital publishing revolution on the ground floor. BUT that’s nothing compared to what these publishers lost — a virtual choke hold on the entire publishing industry.

Google was going to market their product FOR FREE! Instead, these publishers squandered an opportunity… and a relationship.

About Josh Loposer

Josh is the managing editor of Digital Marketer, as well an aspiring novelist. Find out more about what Josh is working on on Facebook, Google, or on his website.
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  • Michael Lundrigan says:

    Google will find a way to turn this in their favor, just watch.

  • Norma Alcazaren says:

    It’s an information world. There’s lot of information that this generation is so hungry about which Google can deliver.

  • Luis Escobar says:

    The difference between what Amazon did and what Google was going to do is called, “getting permission”. Also, in Amazon, authors volunteer to have excerpts of their book up, but it isn’t mandatory. It also helps that Amazon has reader’s credit card numbers.

  • Peggy DeWine says:

    When I phoned agents in NY and the traditional publishers, I was told if I did not live between Boston and NY, my manuscripts would not be considered for publilshing . Certainly no one from the South unless they were famous or infamous. Now learning that many are in financial difficulty , and depending on erotica such as Fifty Shades of Gray to fill their coffers, perhaps they will realize their lack of imagination and diversity is their problem. Also perhaps it is time they realized there is a whole othere world besides NY and Boston out there. None of the great manuscripts of the past would have been published under this kind of snobbery.

  • lou marshall says:

    e-pubs are a great way to introduce yourself to the readers

  • jasmine wollach says:

    it’s about time!