Somebody tell me what's going on with Google. Apparently they are pushing for the legal right to own every out-of-print book, and everything attached to them, for every book that was published before Jan. 5th of this year. Every book!

An author who has a book out has to contact Google to inform them they do not wish to give up their rights.

How does this affect POD authors? And if this is a bad deal (which sounds to me, it is) why haven't big publishers and other writers been yelling about this?

Got any answers?

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Google has come along way since their dorm-room, "Do no evil," days.
Amen! I tried to explain this to my agent but made little headway.
Andrew---Again, I truly hope you're right. But frankly, I don' t think you are. As you well know most authors are poorly paid to begin with. Hardly anyone makes a full time living off it. So now we have to take even less for our work to appear? To say the least, that's frustrating. Worse, it could be considered out right thievery.
I just opted out of their use plan. I hope that means they cannot use my titles if and when they go out of print. I'd rather be able to sell them myself. These days, viable books go out of print very quickly. I'm lucky that all of mine are still in print. Trust me, readers will clamor endlessly for copies when something goes out of print, and we all have access to POD technology, even if we don't find a print publisher.
Exactly, I.J.
With the advances in POD technology and the reasonable costs of printing, there is no reason an author has to let their books go out of print if a publisher drops them.
It is thievery. If it's not, then I should be able to claim each of Eric Schmidt's (Google's CEO) possessions as my own, unless he notifies me in every case, in writing, that I can't have them.
I saw an aritcle in Publishers Marketplace that Microsoft is giveing a New York Law school $50,000 to basically fight this Google agreement. Of course Microsoft and Google are not the best of friends. But hey! At least someone is fighting big brother.
I am interested in what is considered to be "out of print". If and when Google defines it as "no future print runs are scheduled for this release",then legally they can post a book the minute the printing press stops, as long as the publisher has no future print runs scheduled. BTW...I read three books missing only 18 pages on Google books as a test (newer releases) ... I guess 257 less 18 pages is a snippet. My point...the snippets will appear the same day most mid-list authors hit the disribution cycle since the majority of these only have the first print run scheduled. Lawyers are great at twisting the law...portions of the book can be interpreted as the entire book less one or two pages. Precident is a nasty thing, let them show 10 pages, they will try to show twenty. Let them show twenty, they go for 100. Oh, look were already showing most, why not allow us to show it all.
Publishers used to run ads in the back of PW to announce which books were going out of print. This was to let booksellers know that if they wanted to return copies of a book, do it now or keep 'em. This may be the same criteria Google will be using.
I realize and appreciate an owner's desire to protect his rights to his property, but Google books is not much of a threat to anyone's royalties any more than a library is. If a person likes a book he has checked out, he tends to want to buy it. With so many places to locate and purchase even out of print books, it usually is not all that hard. So, if a person actually read 80% of a book on Google books, I would suppose he really liked it because that is a really painful way to read hundreds of pages. He would very likely want to buy the book.

I think that you have identified the big issue: The momentum of precedent. If Google books did push to the point where they could just pop every out of print book on their site, regardless of whether the copyright had expired or not, it would be a sad day.

One more thing, if a library must purchase a book, should not Google have to do the same thing for every book they copy?
Excellent point. Every sale counts, but with libraries, there are thousands which account for thousands of issues sold. With Google, there is one entity, why not have Google match library purchases (worldwide).

Google will push every legal boundary to get the book on their site as fast as possible after the print run. If they can use the law to make that one day after it hits the stores, they will.
Thanks. That's a timely warning. I suppose we all assume that's part of the contract. Again, agents are supposed to make sure that that reversal is made clear. They also have a stake in it.

But the point of all of this still goes back to the unspeakable nerve of Googlebooks to simply take things that don't belong to them without asking permission. That should also apply to oop titles not protected by contractual provisions. Can you picture their staff researching contracts now to see if they can grab the books? And where do they get the contracts?

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