What Google Settlement With Publishers Means

After seven years of litigation, Google has settled with publishers over the alleged unlawful digitization of their in-copyright books. Many of the deal’s terms were not disclosed but the gist is that books scanned by the Google in its Library Project can be removed by publishers if they want and, if not, will be in Google Books, where readers can search them and read the first 20%.

So, what does it all mean?

Not much, New York Law School professor James Grimmelmann told Publishers Weekly. The terms the publishers agreed to are identical to those Google Books has with every publisher, he said.

It actually makes things more confusing, writes Jeff John Roberts in PaidContent. The deal doesn’t resolve Google’s outstanding legal issue with authors, which were recently given class-action status in the matter.

Ultimately, though, for publishers, putting this litigation to rest is a good thing. For one, it’s one less lawsuit to worry about. And allowing Google more free reign to surface books in its search results and allow users to browse and sample them could help build its bookstore, thereby creating a more diverse e-book marketplace.

Read the official announcement here.

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The rest of the day’s top news:

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble Give Birth to Nook Media (DBW)
Five months after the initial announcement of a $605 million investment, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have finalized their partnership and given it a name: Nook Media. B&N/Nook employees: You are now employees of the new entity. Let the Nook-Windows tablet speculation begin again.

Kindle Paperwhite > Nook GlowLight (NYT)
The great David Pogue has spoken: While each offering competitive advantages, for most reading, the Kindle Paperwhite is better than the Nook with GlowLight. But they’re book pretty good.

New Digital Execs at HarperCollins (DBW)
HarperCollins has made a series of new hires and promotions into new positions in an attempt to create centralized digital support for its imprints and business units in the U.S. and around the world.

Traditionally Published Author Turns Coat, Tells Why (WaPo)
Jon Clinch published his first two books with Random House but they didn’t take off. He published his next book on his own and hasn’t looked back. In fact, he won’t look back, he said. He explains why.

Penguin Acquires Self-Published Hit (DBW)
Penguin is taking the plunge with Tammara Webber’s Easy. The book is a best-seller, selling over 150,000 e-books. Penguin is confident it can help the book gain a wider distribution, as it’s had a good track record taking books like Bared to You and Gabriel’s Inferno to new heights, the company told DBW in an email.

The Death of Publishing (Engadget)
The reports of traditional publishing’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Nevertheless, they persist, and from distinguished corners; in this case, from publishing-veteran and Mr. PC, John Hodgman.

Start-up Jellybooks to Launch Kindle, Readmill Integration (DBW)
UK-based book-discovery start-up will soon allow users to send book samples to the Kindle and Readmill platforms. Also, the company added Harlequin UK and its 7,000 titles to its browsing collection.

Making Paying Simple (PaidContent)
The overly complicated way by which the settling publishers would pay e-book consumers in 49 states following an e-book price-fixing settlement has gotten an overhaul. It’s still complicated.

Cheating the Blind (Campus Technology)
The National Federation of the Blind is taking on the e-textbook industry. The advocacy organization has accused several organizations of ignoring “accessibility barriers” in e-textbook pilots that are preventing blind students from participating. The NFB recently won a victory in getting the Sacramento Public Library to settle in a case in which it had allegedly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act in its e-reading program.

Digital Publishing Tools for Art Book Publishers (Digital Publishing Bliki)
Art book publishers have been among the slowest to adapt to the new digital publishing landscape. Digital publishing technologies may not be up to the high publishing standards those publishers are known for. But they’re catching up. Here are some options.

Amazon Bank (WSJ)
Amazon is now handing out small business loans in a pilot program.

Advice From a Publishing Start-up Guy (DBW)
Aerbook’s chief technology officer shows you how a little bit of research can go a long way when figuring out what publishers want and need. Related: Why Publishers Don’t Like Working With Start-ups.

Record-Breaking Content (YouTube)
This book-publishing start-up pitch video must break the record for use of the word “content” in a one-minute spot.

Design Details and Strategies for the Tablets of Today and Tomorrow (DBW)
How can publishers be smart about adding features, enhancing published books and developing new titles, all while keeping an eye on existing requirements as well as the newest tablet capabilities? Find out in an upcoming DBW webcast on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 12:00 PM ET.


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