Book Publishers Sue Google over Google Print

Via PaidContent comes the Association of American Publishers’ PR.  More from

At first glance, I don’t get what this “ISBN solution” is, or,
rather, how it differs from the general request for Google to ask permission before
scanning anything – why is ISBN relevant, beyond the fact that it
allows people to connect a publisher with a book published after 1967?

3 Responses to “Book Publishers Sue Google over Google Print”

  1. peter brantley
    October 19th, 2005 | 5:28 pm

    ISBN could conceivably be used to contact the publisher to request permission to engage in the scanning, which is a cornerstone of the publishers’ requests. I suspect, from Google’s perspective, that they felt there were a significant number of orphan works 1967+ for which that would be a burdensome procedure, and that in general they do not want to get into the role of asking for permission to make a copy – this is a critical component of their business perspective. The publishers, in turn, are not going to shed tears if Google were to carry the burden of either rights lookup or orphan works determination.

  2. Eric Eisenhart
    October 19th, 2005 | 11:48 pm

    Google’s description of their Books project gives some percentages (with less than 20% in print, about 20% public domain and 60% “hard to get into Google Books”.

    I suspect Peter’s correct — AAP is using ISBN to say “see, publishers are easy to find” as more of a red herring than a real argument. Google’s not biting because even with easy to reach publishers, the effort to negotiate about a given book (which may require the author be involved) is many orders of magnitude beyond the effort required to drop a book into an automatic scanner. And it wouldn’t surprise me if over half the ISBN’ed material they’re scanning is from defunct publishers.

    I think AAP is being short-sighted about Google Books. They’re basically refusing massive free marketing because they’re not in control.

  3. Lucas Gonze
    October 20th, 2005 | 2:51 am

    An emotional reaction — I’m really dismayed over AAP’s action in a way that I haven’t been about the RIAA’s. Everything about it is criminally stupid and self-destructive.

    About the ISBNs and AAP’s goals, I imagine that this is the living cannibalizing the dead. These publishers get nothing from competing with orphan works.