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Google Book Search Library Project Case Study

Author Richard Lowry found more readers, and sales, with Google Books.

A military historian and former sailor, Richard Lowry was keenly interested in Operation Desert Storm, which occurred in 1991. Over time Mr. Lowry gathered a good deal of material on this military operation, including details he collected by writing to all the key generals involved. He amassed so much information that he decided to write a book chronicling the whole campaign. It took him 12 years to complete.

"I knew nothing about the publishing industry," recalls Lowry today. "I thought I could submit a book somewhere and then it would appear in every bookstore." After some initial "learning by doing," in his phrase, along with a desire to get the book out, he published his 300-page manuscript using the services of iUniverse. The Gulf War Chronicles first appeared in November 2003.

Like many others, occasionally Lowry types his own name into Google. That's how he discovered that his book was available through the Google Books program. iUniverse had joined Google Books in order to market his book and the rest of their titles through Google. Google Books makes the full text of books searchable alongside websites and everything else that Google indexes, providing snippets of titles in Google Books with links to booksellers.

Programs for publishers and libraries
What content Google users can see from any given book depends on how it reaches Google Books. Those who find titles that are in the Publisher Program can see a limited number of pages from the book; users who find in-copyright books that Google has scanned through the Library Project see only an “information page” offering bibliographic data, the number of times their search term appears, and, for most books, a few snippets of text where the keyword appears.

Large and small publishers alike use Google Books as a free worldwide sales and marketing tool that matches people who are looking for information with the relevant words and phrases inside their books. They use it to attract new readers and boost book sales, earn new revenue from Google contextual ads, and interact more closely with their customers through direct 'Buy this Book' links back to their own websites.

When The Gulf War Chronicles first appeared in Google Books, he saw his sales ranking on the Barnes & Noble index jump "considerably" – by 85 percent – and it stayed there."

Self publishers like iUniverse face a particular challenge in ensuring that their authors can compete in the crowded landscape of new books being published each month. iUniverse offers a variety of marketing services to its authors such as assistance with publicity and advertising. Google Books benefits their authors by enabling them to increase the visibility of their books on Google, and iUniverse leverages Google Books to help their authors market and sell their books.

Gaining exposure and sales
Although Lowry felt "gun-shy" about his entire book being searchable online, with portions available for users to view, he liked the presentation in Google Books. "The way the book is presented is very nice. I don't think there's an issue" about cannibalizing sales, he says. In fact, with no additional marketing by Lowry when The Gulf War Chronicles first appeared in Google Books, he saw his sales ranking on the Barnes & Noble index jump "considerably" – by 85 percent – and it stayed there. "The exposure from Google Books has helped immensely," he says. Lowry is no stranger to marketing his own work. He has built a website (www.gwchronicles.com), he speaks at public events, and continues to research and write. "Your books stop selling when you stop selling your book," he says. So he's especially appreciative of being able to search within the book ("everyone I've interviewed finds his name, and that's an instant sale," he says). He also likes the fact that there are several options on the page for buying the book.

In part because Lowry has worked hard to promote his work, he found an agent and already has a contract for his second title, which will be released by Berkley Publishing early in 2006. Furthermore, he has begun a third book about Marines serving in Iraq, entitled U.S. Marine in Iraq – 2003, which will be published as part of British-based Osprey Publishing's Warrior Series.

Both Berkley and Osprey are publishers in the Google Book Search program, which suits Lowry fine. "I'm very happy that they participate in Google Books, as I know it will help my sales," he says. "Very soon, we'll have all the knowledge of the world at our fingertips, and Google Books will play a large role in bringing that knowledge into our homes and businesses."

 

Google Books Project Ruled Fair Use by US Appeals Court—ARL Releases Issue Brief

image CC-BY by Shawn CollinsThe US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unanimously ruled on Friday, October 16, 2015, in Authors Guild v. Google—also known as the “Google Books” case—that Google’s mass scanning and digital indexing of books for use in creating a searchable online library constituted a legal “fair use” of copyrighted material rather than an infringement.

 
 

Issue Brief: Second Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Fair Use in Google Books Case

On October 16, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unanimously affirmed the lower court's fair use decision in Author's Guild v. Google, also known as the "Google Books" case. Google, through its Library Project, made digital copies of tens of millions of books submitted to the project by libraries. Google then included these copies in a search index that displays "snippets" in response to search queries. The Second Circuit held that the copying of the books and the display of snippets is transformative and a fair use. Furthermore, Google's provision of digital copies to its partner libraries that submitted the particular works is not an infringement.

IssueBrief-GoogleBooks-2ndCir.pdf

 

Terms:2015, Accessibility, Copyright, Court Cases, Digitization, Fair Use, Google Books, Issue Brief, Krista L. Cox, Publications, Text

 

Libraries Laud Appeals Court Affirmation That Mass Book Digitization by Google Is 'Fair Use'

image CC-BY by Shawn CollinsThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today ruled in Authors Guild v. Google that Google's mass digital indexing of books for use in creating a searchable online library constituted a legal “fair use” of copyrighted material rather than an infringement.

 
 

LCA Files Amicus Brief in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc. Appeal

On July 8, 2014, the Library Copyright Association filed an amicus brief for Authors Guild v. Google, Inc. in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

amicus-GoogleBooksAppeal-final-8jul2014.pdf

 

 
  

Google Books Case Dismissed—Victory for Fair Use and Libraries

Google BooksOn November 14, Judge Denny Chin of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the digitization of millions of books from research library collections was a fair use and dismissed the Authors Guild case against Google and its Library Project, saying that the project “advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration of the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders.” In his decision, Judge Chin cited a November 2012 amicus brief (PDF) submitted by the Library Copyright Alliance (comprised of the Association of Research Libraries, the American Library Association, and the Association of College and Research Libraries). The Authors Guild has stated that they disagree with the decision and plan to appeal.

 
 

LCA Updates Diagram, "GBS March madness: Paths Forward for the Google Books Settlement"

On March 4, 2010, the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announce the release of "GBS March Madness: Paths Forward for the Google Books Settlement." This diagram, developed by Jonathan Band, explores the many possible routes and outcomes of the Google Books Settlement, including avenues into the litigation and appeals process. The updated version reflects Judge Chin's March 2011 rejection of the settlement and suggested modification as well as Judge Chin's November 2013 granting of Google's motion for summary judgement against the Authors Guild, finding that Google's scan and snippet display was a fair use. The Authors Guild has announced its intention to appeal.

Diagrams (PDF)

 
 

Libraries Applaud Dismissal of Google Book Search Case

On November 14, 2013, after eight years of litigation, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York upheld the fair use doctrine when the court dismissed Authors Guild v. Google, a case that questioned the legality of Google's searchable book database. The Library Copyright Alliance welcomes Judge Denny Chin's decision to protect the search database that allows the public to search more than 20 million books. In his dismissal of the case, Judge Chin enumerated the public benefits of Google Book Search by calling the project transformative and a fair use under the copyright law.

Press Release (PDF)

 
 

Libraries Applaud Dismissal of Google Book Search Case

Google BooksAfter eight years of litigation, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York today upheld the fair use doctrine when the court dismissed Authors Guild v. Google, a case that questioned the legality of Google’s searchable book database.

 
 

Herbert Mitgang et al. v. Google Inc.

Court transcript from Herbert Mitgang, et al., v. Google, Inc. September 23, 2013, hearing before Judge Denny Chin in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

 Google-Books-court-transcript-23sep2013.pdf

 
 

LCA Files Amicus Brief Supporting Defendent—Appellant and Reversal in Authors Guild v. Google

On November 16, 2012, members of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) filed an amicus brief in support of defendant-appellant and reversal in the Authors Guild v. Google, Inc., case being heard in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Amicus Brief

 
  

ARL Joins ALA, ACRL, and EFF in Amicus Brief Supporting Google Book Search

On August 1, 2012, members of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) joined EFF in an amicus brief in support of the Google Book Search settlement.

Amicus Brief (PDF)

 
 

LCA Issues Statement on Copyright Reform

In the wake of Judge Chin's rejection of the Google Books Settlement, there has been a renewed interest in legislative solutions to a variety of copyright issues affecting libraries, including those implicating the mass digitization of books, the use of orphan works, and the modernization of 17 U.S.C. §108 (particularly preservation). The Library Copyright Alliance, comprised of the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), has several general comments on possible efforts to address these issues via legislation.

lca_copyrightreformstatement_16may11.pdf

 
 

Letter to Federal Trade Commission re: Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter Google, Inc. (Google Buzz), File No. 1023136 (Apr. 26, 2011)

ARL comments to the FTC on the proposed consent agreement, specifically, regarding privacy issues raised by the Google Books product, which involves both searching and selling books.

 gbs-privacycomments_26apr11.pdf

 
 

A Guide For the Perplexed Part IV: The Rejection of the Google Books Settlement

On March 22, 2011, Judge Denny Chin rejected the proposed settlement in copyright infringement litigation over the Google Library Project. Judge Chin found that the settlement was not "fair, reasonable, and adequate" as required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Judge Chin issued the decision over a year after the fairness hearing he conducted. His opinion agrees in large measure with the objections to the settlement asserted by the U.S. Department of Justice at the hearing and in its written submissions. This paper discusses the opinion and where it leaves Google Books Search.

 guide-for-perplexed-part4-apr11.pdf

 
 

LCA Releases Statement on Google Books Settlement Rejection

March 24, 2011 - The American Library Association (ALA), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) released a brief statement in regard to Judge Chin's rejection of the Google Books settlement and his suggested modification.

Statement (PDF)

 
   

The Google Books Settlement: Second Round Comments

Late last year, Google, the Author's Guild, the American Association of Publishers, and the individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit over Google's massive book digitization program negotiated several revisions to their original Proposed Settlement Agreement (original agreement). The revisions were designed to address concerns raised by the Department of Justice and other critics who advised the court to reject the original agreement. The deadline to file comments on the new Proposed Amended Settlement Agreement (amended agreement) was January 28, 2010. The Department of Justice filed its comments on Thursday, February 4, 2010. This document describes the second round of comments.

 gbs-2nd-round-comments10feb10.pdf

 
 

Letter to William F. Cavanaugh re: Google Library Project Settlement (Dec. 15, 2009)

The American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries (the Library Associations) write to follow-up on our May 27, 2009 meeting with Antitrust Division staff concerning the proposed settlement of the Google Library Project litigation.

 lt-gbs-cavanaugh15dec09.pdf

 
 

A Guide for the Perplexed Part III: The Amended Settlement Agreement

On Friday, November 13, 2009, Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers filed an Amended Settlement Agreement (ASA) in the copyright infringement litigation concerning the Google Library Project. The amendments proposed by the parties are designed to address objections made by the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders to the original proposed settlement agreement. While many of the amendments will have little direct impact on libraries, the ASA significantly reduces the scope of the settlement because it excludes most books published outside of the United States. This paper describes the ASA's major changes, with emphasis on those changes relevant to libraries.

 guide-for-perplexed-part3-nov09.pdf

 
  

Letter to Daralyn J. Durie, Esq. re: Privacy Concerns about the Google Book Settlement (Oct. 6, 2009)

Letter to attorneys involved in the Google Books Settlement case written to urge Google to include enforceable privacy protections along with the amended settlement agreement.

 lt-gbs-group-privacy06oct09.pdf

 
 

The Google Books Settlement: Who Is Filing And What Are They Saying?

The Association of Research Libraries, the American Library Association, and the Association of College and Research Libraries have prepared this document to summarize in a few pages of charts some key information about the hundreds of filings that have been submitted to the federal district court presiding over the Google Books litigation.

 gbs-filingchart28sep09.pdf

 
 

Letter to Lamar Smith and John Conyers re: Hearing on Competition and Commerce in Digital Books (Sept. 4, 2009)

ALA, ARL, and ACRL express views on the market for digital books, in particular the proposed settlement of the litigation concerning the Google Book Search service.

competition-digi-books-letter-2009.pdf

 
 

Supplemental Library Association Comments on the Proposed Google Books Settlement

The American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries (the Library Associations) submit these comments to address developments relating to the proposed Settlement that have arisen since the Library Associations filed their initial comments with this Court on May 4, 2009. In particular, these comments discuss the amendment Google and the University of Michigan (Michigan) entered into on May 20, 2009 that expanded the 2004 agreement that allowed Google to scan books in the Michigan library for inclusion in Google's search database.

 googlebooks-lib-assn-supp-filing-02aug09.pdf

 
 

Letter to Faculty re: Google Books Settlement

A generic letter for faculty informing them of the implications of the October 2008 proposed Google Books settlement.

 ltr_google-books-faculty.doc

 
 

A Guide for the Perplexed Part II: The Amended Google-Michigan Agreement

On May 20, 2009, Google and the University of Michigan (Michigan) entered into an amendment that expanded the 2004 agreement that allowed Google to scan books in the Michigan library for inclusion in Google's search database. The new agreement (the Amendment) addresses the provisions of the proposed settlement agreement between Google and the plaintiffs in the Google Book Search litigation.

 google-michigan-12jun09.pdf

 
 

Research Library Issues, no. 264 (June 2009)

RLI issue 264 includes the following articles:

  • ARL Encourages Members to Refrain from Signing Nondisclosure or Confidentiality Clauses
  • The Case for Regulating Google and the Proposed Book Rights Registry
  • Learning and Research Spaces in ARL Libraries: Snapshots of Installations and Experiments
  • A Different Kind of Conversation: The Sparky Awards and Fresh Views on Change in Scholarly Communication
  • ARL Selects Research Library Leadership Fellows for 2009 10
 

Terms:2005–2009, Google Books, Leadership, Licensing, Publications, Research Library Issues, Scholarly Communication, Space, Facilities, and Services, Text

 

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