Google and publishing business to team up in future

Friday, January 19, 2007

Google logo.

On the 18th of December, Google held the "Unbound" event that attracted about 300 people, who gathered at the New York Public Library. The event's visitors met to discuss the issue of Google's Library Project and Book Search tool and the publishing business perspectives in general. Google decided to bring up the issue, as a lot of representatives of the publishing industry believe that the project will deprive them from the expected profits from books sold in bookstores and online marketplaces.

The speech of Jim Gerber, manager of content partnerships at Google, opened the event. Mr. Gerber noted that their meeting was aimed at a mutual understanding of changes the book-publishing market will face in the 21st century. Among the speakers present were those closely related to the publishing business - authors, publishers and analysts, including Cory Doctorow, a science fiction writer and co-editor of Boing Boing, as well as agents of the leading publishing stores such as Harper Collins and Cambridge University Press.

Having organized the event, Google pursued their aim of improving the perception of its Book Search project. The company tried to establish links with publishers and libraries by extending an offer whereby portions of copyrighted published content would be availabe for public view through the Google search database. Still, Google stumbled upon skeptical attitudes by publishers.

However, some of the publishers supported the initiative. Cory Doctorow expressed his belief, grounded upon his personal experiences, that book snippets available free on the Internet implied the possibility of commercial benefit. One of the major advantages of the on-line library is the guaranteed attention and interest it can attract to the publishers' products.

Although the issue aroused a lot of controversial opinions, the speakers came to the conclusion that as the digital world has been experiencing rapid growth, the publishing industry has to keep to the modern pace and broaden its horizons. As it was mentioned by Tim O'Reilly, the founder of O'Reilly Media, a technical manual publishing company, that in the time of revolutionary changes, brought by the development of digital technologies, it was important for their industry segment not to ignore but embrace the forthcoming changes. He also mentioned that the Library Project and Book Search tool carried out by Google represented an opportunity to become part of the newly-born media culture.