Commentary on latest US court ruling for Google Books

The American Authors Guild seems intent on throwing good money after bad by pursuing Google for publishing excerpts from digitised books and then making them available on Google Books. In the latest court decision in the ongoing battle, a US court has ruled that Google Books is operating within the constraints of “fair use” in publishing extracts from whole books.

I’ve never understood the problem. IP signed up for Google Books back in the days before Google sold books because we saw the site as offering our titles greater discoverability amidst the millions of titles published each year. We never saw it as an infringement of copyright, although I can understand the objection of authors who never volunteered to have their work posted this way.

We routinely offer a link from the dedicated mini-sites for our books to the Google Books page featuring the title. This allows us to provide a short sample on our site, then give people the option to connect to Google Books to read a longer sample. Our Store is always the top link on the Google page for people who decide to buy the book in print or digitised version.

Surely, posting 15% of a work does not constitute piracy, especially since authors and publishers can choose to opt out of Google Books in part or in whole. These days, when authors offer their ENTIRE books for free on Amazon, that is a greater potential threat to their copyright if the freebie is then passed on.

Google Books is all about discoverability and enticing people to buy your work after sampling it. To see how it works, have a look at The Snow In Us (2nd edition)

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