Now that that’s settled

The New York Times wrote about Google’s recent settlement, or proposed settlement I should say, of the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild. 

Obviously this gives Google the right to display scanned books and sell ads against those books. And, I’m assuming that there’s some kind of rev share with the authors for that advertising. Or is there a one-time payment?

Here’s the question that I have. Will authors or authors heirs or estates or literary executors, in many cases, be able to get a digital file from Google once Google scans that author’s book? Will those authors have access to the digital files so that they can sell their work digitally in other places – Kindle, Sony Reader, Fictionwise?

Once Google has the scanned book and has the potential to make advertising revenue on that scan, will they be amenable to sharing that digital file with the author? Or will they complain that sharing digital files would be too convoluted – too many authors, too much hassle?

There’s gold in them thar backlists. The beauty of the Kindle or any other digital reading device is in the backlist potential. I’m a huge mystery fan, but right now I can’t walk into a bookstore and buy every Ed McBain 87th Precinct book or Donald Westlake’s Richard Stark novels. The Kindle’s infinite bookshelf will ultimately pay large dividends for Amazon and make Chris Anderson have happy dreams re: the long tail.


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