Google Library Project

328 words | 2 page(s)

In terms of who is being harmed by Google’s Library Project, there are three main groups: authors, traditional publishers, and booksellers. Their interests are financial; these groups make their livings from the sales of books. Therefore, some matter of payment would have to be devised in order to accommodate the concerns and protect the interests of these groups.

Google’s reason for pursuing the Library Project is simple: Google wished to create digital libraries/collections. Google also benefits in several ways, namely the inevitable increase in Google traffic which would engender horizontal integration and expose users to more ads (for which Google could arguably charge more), both of which afford Google the opportunity to increase revenues. This would increase Google’s visibility over its competitors and its ability to expand into other markets.

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If I were a librarian, I would support the Project. Librarians believe in providing access to information, which the Project would do. And while Google’s Project might present a threat in terms of physical collections, it doesn’t replace the many other services offered by libraries.

Firms like Amazon and Yahoo have opposed the Project because they perceive Google as a threat. The Project settlement would grant Google exclusive rights to sell out of print works which remain under contract. Amazon may have the most at stake given that it’s a major bookseller and has created the Kindle to increase sales. Sony supports Google because Sony benefits: through an agreement with Google, Sony gained access to more than 500,000 e-book titles for its readers. Sony is looking to challenge Kindle sales with their e-book reader.
I don’t think Google will become a de facto monopoly with regard to books. While Google has significant resources, it cannot scan every book. Furthermore, many books remain copyrighted, which restricts Google’s access to them and its ability to include them in its searches. Amazon will continue to be a meaningful competitor with regard to books.

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