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Google Book Search

What is it?

In 2004, Google premiered Google Print at the Frankfort Book Fair and later renamed the Google Books Library Project. Agreements were made to scan books from the largest libraries including Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, the University of Michigan and the New York Public Library. The goal was to offer unprecedented access to the largest collection of knowledge in the world.

How will it affect my work?

The potential for copyright violation is high in a project of this size. In 2005 the Author’s Guild and the Association of American Publishers each sued Google over not properly respecting copyright.The settlement agreement reached in October 2008 requires Google to pay $125 million and provide a searchable Book Rights Registry.

Authors of out of print, under copyright books can submit a claim on the settlement website by January 5, 2010 to receive $60 per book. Authors and copyright holders also receive 63 percent of all advertising and e-commerce revenues associated with their works, such as click-throughs from ads on the pages. Authors can also opt out of the Book Search Registry. Google will index books and display snippets in search results. The deadline for submitting requests online is September 4, 2009. A Fairness Hearing is scheduled for October 7, 2009 to give authors and publishers a chance to speak on the fairness of the agreement terms.

Is my work affected? What should I do?

If you are an author, the settlement affects you in several ways.

  • Is $60 per title adequate compensation for your work? Opting out of the database may mean losing potential audience or revenue. Accessing information will be easier as Google makes more content available.
  • Will my work be preserved accurately online? Many book scanning projects have skipped pages and other content.
  • Respond to a public hearing if you are concerned about access to online books.

Questions? Contact the Libraries' Scholarly Communications Officer Elizabeth Brown at (607) 777-4882 or or ebrown@binghamton.

Last Updated: 11/17/17