Monday, July 10, 2006

Debating Google Book Search & free content

Last Friday the Book Standard ran an article (oddly titled "Bookseller Editor Predicts Popular Digital Reading Device in Five Years") that discussed the current debate within the publishing industry over digital content. It quotes editor Joel Rickett from The Bookseller as worrying that Google's ambitious program to make library content available online will hurt publishers, while Penguin CEO John Makinson sees it as increasing distribution channels for publishers.

There are a lot of things to criticize left-wing Google for (e.g. see my prior post about Chinese censorship), but the availability of digital content probably isn't one of them. With media fragmentation going on, being able to reach your niche (or, in the case of Google, having your niche reach you) is critical. Reasonable limits on the availability of commercial content that are coupled with buying opportunities for the consumer should be sales-additive for publishing.



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