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OPLIN 4Cast #240: Google Books highs and lows

Posted in 4cast

While many folks have been focused on Google+, Google Books has been bouncing from bad news to good news over the past couple of weeks. Some of the news results from legal issues, some from big deals, and some from business competition. And in case things were not busy enough for Google Books, they also just released their own ebook reader. The common thread in all of these stories seems to be that Google believes making ebooks more accessible is good business for them.

  • Frustrated judge pushes Google digital book deal (Reuters/Jonathan Stempel)  “Citing antitrust and copyright concerns, [U.S. District Judge Denny] Chin had on March 22 rejected a $125 million settlement. He said it went ‘too far’ in allowing Google to exploit digitized copyrighted works by selling subscriptions to them online and engaging in ‘wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission.'”
  • Google teams up with The British Library to bring vast collection online (TheNextWeb/Paul Sawers)  “The deal with Google will enable readers to view, search and copy works – where the copyright has expired – at no charge. Google will also make the books available through its own portal.”
  • iPad book apps hobbled: only existing account-holders can use the apps, Google Books booted (TechCrunch/John Biggs)  “…according to their subscription rules, everything had to go through Apple itself and you could not, in short, go out to a web page to complete the transaction. That promise – to shut down external web stores on the iPad – has been fulfilled and the Nook, Kindle, Kobo, and Google Books apps have just been either drastically changed or removed from the App Store entirely.”
  • Pottermore + Google = ebooks for everyone (Geeks are Sexy/ACrezo)  “In effect, Rowling will be self-publishing the digital copies of Harry Potter on Pottermore, a move that could leave proprietary readers reeling from the loss of potential earnings. It seems Rowling will be taking Potter to Google, and publishing all of the books through open-source Google eBooks (purchasable through Google Checkout) in DRM-free ePub and PDF formats.”

Potter fact:
According to the Google team, the Pottermore team also plans to use another Google outlet – YouTube – for video broadcasts in the future.