Google finally secures book agreement

It took a multimillion dollar lawsuit, two years of tense negotiations, and a whole lot of scanning, according to The Guardian. But yesterday the publishing world stood on the threshold of a digital era after a US deal paved the way to transform publishing, the newspaper reported.

The agreement between Google and the US book industry means that internet users will soon be able to choose from and buy millions of titles, many out of print, or read them on a page-by-page basis.

After searching for books via Google, apparently users will be offered free samples of chosen titles, with the option to buy more. Although it is not yet clear how much books will cost to download, a royalty organisation, the Book Rights Registry, will take payments from Google (after it has taken a 37% cut) and distribute them to the authors and publishers.

The Guardian says that three years ago, the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and others filed a class action lawsuit against Google Book Search. As part of the agreement Google will compensate them at a minimum of US$60 (£37) per work, costing it up to US$90m of the US$125m deal.