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Google Steals Books

Google truly has no shame. These days it's nearly impossible to make it as an author. For every James Patterson, there are hundreds of thousands of men and women with unsold manuscripts, and hundreds of thousands who self-publish manuscripts that too few read.

For those lucky enough to get published, Google has a sweet deal. It will get you exposure by scanning and publishing parts of your book for free! That way you don't even have to worry about selling it or cashing all those pesky royalty checks.

If you don't think this is a big deal, Google has already scanned and posted parts of over 20 million books. That's great for cheapskates, bad for writing and the writing industry. The Authors Guild is suing, and the utterly shameless (Google) is fighting it, claiming that what it does is good since the public achieves "increased knowledge" and that "books exist to read." It won't be for long if writers stop writing because they can't make a living (or get paid at all).

One of the coolest writers on my shelf, "Ball Four" author and former big leaguer Jim Bouton, is a plaintiff. Imagine if that book never got written.

Am I too rough on poor old Google and should it be allowed to trample on copyrights so we can read book excerpts for free? What else should we give Google (my first born is already taken, sorry)? Send your lists and thoughts to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 08/22/2012 at 1:19 PM


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