I hope someone here understands this deal. I have read the information passed on to me by my agent's office and am worried about signing off on it.
First off, Google Books have annexed two of my books and I'm involved in this settlement deal.
Secondly, my agency suggests I accept the settlement arrived at by Author's Guild. This would give Google Books the right to publish my books when they go out of print, and pay me a small amount of money.
My instinct is to refuse. My reasons: out-of-print books should have their rights returned to me. How do I sell those rights when Google Books has published an electronic version?

I'm anxiously awaiting some expert advice. Thanks, guys.

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Thanks much, Tom. Will check them out.
I had a quick look. Doctorow seems to be all for making things available for research. Scalzi (couldn't find his comments on Google) thought the Kindle squabble was ridiculous -- "since whoever buys a Kindle wouldn't also be buying an audiobook" The point here really is that an audiobook can run as much as $ 45.00. Clearly a Kindle owner with audio capacity will not buy any more audiobooks.
So on the whole, I need to hear from those who also worry about being able to sell all rights of their out-of-print books.
Sorry if I didn't make this clear: I think it's worth *asking their opinion.* Corey's an advocate of giving away the book but selling your live appearance (I don't agree, btw, but I'm not a cute little guy). He's also hell on wheels when it comes to corporate theft from living authors. He's at the site Boing Boing.

John Scalzi keeps the dialog going at his site, 'John Scalzi's "Whatever."' I'd check to see what he's said about GoogleTheft in the past, and then ask him his opinion on the current situation. Many consider him the Second Coming Of Heinlein, so he may be very specific indeed on what countermeasures to use.

Also check the historical threads at 'Making Light.' The hosts work at TOR and Boing-Boing, and are very informed on corporate kleptocracy.

I'm very sorry this is happening to you, Ingrid, and I hope you get to a good resolution. It's your work, not theirs. They're just stealing without so much as $5 fishing license, from what I can see.
I haven't really kept up with Cory Doctorow, but I remember he was trying to make the distinction between the book and the content. He gives away the content of his books for free online but you can still buy his books in bookstores, and he does seel quite a few.

But that situation could (and likely will) change as the whole book market changes.

My outlook isn't usually as optimistic as the folks at Boing Boing. I can never tell if their sub-title, "A Directory of Wonderful Things," is ironic or not.
I take it as having multiple meanings, not least of which is, "Things About Which We Wonder, And Wonder, And Wonder." I find Corey and some of his crew a bit enamored of their Bright Young Things status. But, then, I've been a fool myself on several occasions.

For all that, as a group they do seem to have some skill at seeing around the corner to the future, which is an uncommon talent. And we all want to see money flowing TO authors.
Thanks, Tom. I'm mad enough to opt out of everything. And God knows, they are stealing right and left, aren't they? It's a pity that electronic publishing should have brought out the worst in business. Though, considering the revelations about CEOs everywhere, we shouldn't be surprised. Clearly a lot of time will be taken up by fighting current and future takeovers of our books.
There's really a big shift going on in the corporate world that we're caught between.

For companies like Google and ISP providors (who are now all major media companies, really) it works best if no one has to stop to pay for content, if it's just all accessible with the one payment that gets them online.

It's still early days, so we'll see how it goes.
I have been part of a few settlements where the big business lawyers have argued the settlement down to 1 cent on the dollar or less, since anything larger would severely cripple the company's cash flow. Then why did they rip us off in the first place? One settlement from Paypal was worth less than the postage required to send the legal package to me. Are these people for real. $60 is what I saw in an earlier post. $60 for what could be on the average case $6,000 in royalties over the years....that's one cent on the dollar again.
$ 60.00 is also what I've been told in the materials I received. Out-of-print books are uninteresting to publishers, unless they want to engage in the POD business for which they have shown little inclination. Agents may feel differently if and when they see solid profits in future publishing venues.
$60 is just an insult. I wouldn't sell a book for that.
Well, it covers a sort of residual use. Yes, it's insulting. Also, note that it's dependent on whether they make enough money from customers and advertisers. Have you had any occasion to use GoogleBooks?

However, Authors Guild has signed off on the deal. My agency cannot handle my case if I drop out of the settlement and sue. The best I can do is to stay in and forbid all future use of my books. That's the decision I ended up with in my understanding of the issue.

We can only wait and see what the impact of this (and Kindle) is on book publishing. While these "thefts" are happening, other companies are working to make electronic publishing marketable and beneficial to authors.
I have used google books. You can read an entire book minus a couple pages. I have previewed authors for 60+ pages when I am interested in finding out more about their style when working with them on query letters or responding to comments. Yes, I own bookstores, but it is easier to read a good chunk of an author's work on Google Books than to drive up to the store and grab a copy.

One plus to the agreement is Google appears to want to market books. If you can get revenues by allowing previews, then it might be a good thing. If enough authors recommend google change to a more industry accepted preview style of the first three chapters/first 30 pages, it may become a valid marketing tool for out of print books.

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