Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Google Permits Printing on Google Search

This week has been an absolute disaster for me as far as writing goes. I can tell I'll be awake until 3:00 AM Sunday night, trying to catch up on my goal for pages for the week.

Passionate Ink, the online RWA chapter for which I am membership chair, is knee-deep in membership renewals. Actually, it's more like neck-deep at this point. We have nearly 400 members, and a quarter of them waited until the last minute to renew (deadline is tomorrow night). Since Monday morning, I've been besieged by people and questions: "My membership isn't up with everyone else's, is it?" (Answer: Ah, that would be a yes) "What if I can't get PayPal to work?" (Answer: You can try a carrier pigeon, but you'll need a fast one since you've waited until the last minute to renew and it's too late to send a check) "Are you going to charge ME a late fee?" (Answer: Uh-huh) "I haven't gotten the renewal messages (Answer: None of the SIX messages?)."

Anyway, this blog looks like a sea of tranquility by contrast. I have four possible subjects to talk about, and I suspect today will be a multi-blog day.

First up: Google's press release this morning.

Google announced that, starting today, readers can begin downloading works in the public domain through its Book Search program.

The press release said: "Working with our library partners, we're expanding access to books that are out of copyright and have become public domain material. Users can search and read these books on Google Book Search like always, but now they can also download and print them to enjoy them at their own pace."

Google will not enable downloading on any books still under copyright. The release states: "Unless we have the publisher's permission to show more, we display only basic bibliographic information, and, in many cases, small snippets of text--at most, a few lines of text surrounding a search term."

You will, of course, remember my post yesterday that talked about the companies now offering free audio downloads of books in the public domain. My point--as always--was that delivery systems are expanding to offer the reader more choices. This is a perfect example of what I was talking about.

Why go to the bookstore and spend $15 on a copy of Dante's Inferno when you can download and read it for free? (Less the cost of ink and paper).

Sidney Verba, director of the Harvard University Library (a partner with Google) said: "What has been tucked away in large research library collections and available only to a few, can now be discovered and read by people everywhere."

Technology marching on.

P.S. Since posting this, I read in Publishers Lunch that Google posted a notice, advising bloggers that they can now post a link to Google Book Search on their sites. Here's the link to the notice and instructions:

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