The Washington Post has a story about Google’s project to make the contents of all books searchable online. It’s running into opposition from copyright holders, so Google has delayed it so that publishing houses can choose not to have their books included. From Google Print product manager Adam Smith:
We think most publishers and authors will choose to participate in the publisher program in order to introduce their work to countless readers around the world. But we know that not everyone agrees, and we want to do our best to respect their views too. So now, any and all copyright holders . . . can tell us which books they’d prefer that we not scan if we find them in a library.
Publishing houses shouldn’t be skeered: There are ways to make sure people keep buying books. For example, maybe you search for a term and find it within a book, but only an excerpt is displayed; you have to pay to read the whole book.
This is a technology I’ve been waiting for for a long time. Imagine all the information that we’d have easy access to!