Friday, September 18, 2009

Digital Books?

Google's digital library may find new life as, uh, real books


It looks like some of the 2 million books from Google's new digital library are going to end up being (gasp!) printed on paper, Wired and the Associated Press report.

Under a deal announced today, Google is opening up part of its index to the maker of a high-speed publishing machine that can manufacture a paperback book of about 300 pages in less than five minutes, the AP reports.

These “public domain” books were published before 1923 — an era that includes classics such as Moby Dick and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as well as very obscure titles.

Q1X00246_9 On Demand Books, the maker of the "Espresso Book Machine." potentially could get access to even more hard-to-find books if Google wins court approval of a class-action settlement giving it the right to sell out-of-print books.

On Demand’s printing machines are in more than a dozen locations in the USA, Canada, Australia, England and Egypt, mostly at campus book stores, libraries and small retailers.

Some of Google’s rivals and a long list of other critics hope to block the settlement, mainly because they say it will give Google a monopoly on the digital rights to out-of-print books, the AP says.

Click here to read Wired's FAQ on the fight over Google's digital

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