The New York Times has reported that the Library of Congress and a group of international libraries from the United States, Canada, Egypt, China and the Netherlands are planning on making one million books publicly available over the Internet. Search engine Google has inked agreements with several of the nation’s "leading research universities" in which it will publish and make searchable the full text of library books whose copyright has expired. John Battelle wonders how Google is going to monetize this effort.
A very interesting case will be Google Print. As that program
expands, and it’s rumored that it will, dramatically, a number of
questions arise. How will Google monetize out-of-copyright books? If it
indeed does bring tens of thousands of out-of-print books onto the web
and into its index, will it allow others to access and index that new
treasure trove, or will it act more like a traditional media company,
which would "own" that resource for itself? How will it choose what it
brings into the index – those that might sell? Those that somehow are
the most "in demand" by some measurable standard? With regard to books
that are in print, will it limit itself to being soley an
organizational tool supported by AdWords, or will it start to take a
vig for books that are sold via the Google Print service (in fact,
maybe it does already and I’m simply unaware of it – any publishers out
there, let me know!)? And will the print model scale to television and
movies or music?